Jazz Sweep Season Series From Pistons
Utah 94, Detroit 90 (OT)
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 7 (Ticker) -- When it come to the Detroit Pistons, Andrei Kirilenko and the Utah Jazz are perfect.
Kirilenko scored a season-high 24 points and Mehmet Okur added 13 and 17 rebounds as the Jazz squeezed out a 94-90 overtime triumph over the Pistons, who had their nine-game home winning streak snapped.
"Maybe it's that we don't need extra motivation against them," said Kirilenko, who pulled down 11 rebounds. "They're the best in the league, they won the championship two years ago and (are) playing like champions now. That just motivates us more."
Detroit's Chauncey Billups didn't know why the Jazz have the Pistons' number this season.
"I can't put my finger on it," said Billups, who scored 24 points. "They're a tough team. They play extremely hard, mix it up and play some zone, some man and keep you off-balance. They're very well-coached and they're very disciplined."
A basket by Rasheed Wallace gave the Pistons an 86-85 advantage with 2:53 remaining in the extra session before Okur - a former Piston - sank 3-pointer and Greg Ostertag made a layup.
"I had a great two years here," Okur said. "Everybody treated me so well. But now I just try to do my best for the Jazz."
Milt Palacio drained a jumper with 37 seconds left to give Utah a 92-88 lead. After a layup by Ben Wallace, Palacio came up huge once again, scoring on a driving layup with four seconds remaining to seal the victory.
"The jump shot and the layup, they were pretty big," said Palacio, who scored 14 points. "At that point, I thought they'd leave me a little. So I felt that if I would just be aggressive, I could do something."
"I thought he (Palacio) played pretty well," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "He played defense well, which is tough no matter which of those guys you put him on. The important thing is we did a good job of keeping them on top of the basket and made them shoot over the top of us."
Detroit held a 73-65 advantage with eight minutes remaining in the fourth period, but Utah used a 10-2 spurt to tie the game. The Pistons were outscored, 27-17, in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't have a good effort in the first half and had a really horrendous finish," Sloan said. "I didn't know if we were going to settle down and try to play basketball or try to beat them 1-on-1."
Billups made a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left for a 92-90 lead, but Kirilenko answered with two free throws six seconds later. Billups had a chance to win it in regulation but missed as time expired.
"Basically, it was a high pick-and-roll," said Billups, who added eight assists. "I knew they were going to help and I just slipped and lost control. I just tried to make a shot and got in a little finger roll. It actually felt good but it didn't go."
"I just wanted him to take a tough shot," Palacio said. "I wanted to make him shoot over me. With my size, I can get up on him."
Rookie Deron Williams scored 14 points and Matt Harpring added 12 for Utah, which shot 42 percent (34-of-81) from the field and collected seven blocked shots, two by Kirilenko.
Richard Hamilton scored 18 points and Tayshaun Prince added 14 for the Pistons, who shot 36 percent (32-of-88). They shot only 38 percent in their loss at Utah.
The Jazz received 52 points from their bench while the Pistons had just 19 from their reserves. Forward Antonio McDyess scored a season-high 13 points.
"Palacio, Williams and Ostertag all hurt us in overtime," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "Those aren't the guys you'd expect it from."