If you didn’t know that the Pistons just played a game last night, you would have known from the way they started this game. The Jazz easily outplayed them en route to a 97-83 win, but it looked like Detroit might lose by 40 early.
It would have been nice to at least see the Pistons put up a fight after the drubbing they received from the Cavaliers last night, but that was not the case for most of this game.
Stan Van Gundy opted to start Jon Leuer over Tobias Harris, even though Harris had been hot over the last three games starting. I can’t really make much sense of that decision, as the Jazz went small by starting Piston killer Joe Johnson. The lineup change did not make any difference as the Pistons came out flat in the first quarter and managed to only score 19 in the opening frame and were down nine.
Things were not any better in the second quarter as the Jazz dominated the Pistons defensively and moved the ball around beautifully to increase their lead to 19 at halftime. To give an idea of how well the Jazz were moving the ball, they ended the game with 28 assists as a team on 36 made field goals.
The Pistons were flat, and looked completely dead in the water at halftime. The starters were awful and would not play much in the second half as they came out flat again and the Jazz lead quickly ballooned to 23 points. As has been the case for many games this season, the struggle by the starters was a good thing, as the bench were able to come in and get the Pistons back into the game during the third and fourth quarters.
The bench tightened up defensively and started making shots as they pestered their way to get the Jazz lead down to nine at one point in the fourth. That was the closest they would get as their valiant effort would come up short against one of the better teams in the West.
Aron Baynes was one of the bright spots for the Pistons. On a night where Andre Drummond was not very good, he had his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Ish Smith was also fantastic leading the Pistons with 16 points and sparking their late comeback.
If there is any bright side to the last two nights, the Pistons did not play great against two teams that they were likely to not beat anyways. You would still like to see better effort out of a team that is fighting for the playoffs, but the Pistons schedule eases up substantially from here on out.
If this team is serious about the playoffs, they should be able to win most of the rest of their games.