The Detroit Pistons started their current road trip against two of the highest-scoring teams in the NBA, and things won't get much easier now.
The Pistons will try to slow down another high-powered offense on Wednesday night when they visit the Northwest Division-leading Utah Jazz, who haven't lost at home in nearly two months.
Detroit (42-15) began its four-game Western Conference trip with a 116-86 win at Phoenix on Sunday and followed that up with a 98-93 victory at Denver the following day. The Suns are scoring 109.5 points per game, and the Nuggets are close behind with an average of 107.0.
"To win on the road, you have to defend," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We've come in and played two of the top scoring teams in the league and held those teams in the 90s on their home floor. We controlled the tempo of the game."
The Pistons, two games behind Boston for the best record in the East, will be hoping for a similar effort against the Jazz (36-21), who are scoring 105.4 points per contest. Including Wednesday's 111-100 loss at Minnesota, Utah has scored in triple figures in five straight games and nine of 10.
The Pistons wrap up their road trip on Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers, who rank near the bottom of the league with 94.3 points per game.
Detroit will also have to figure out a way to beat the Jazz on their home court, where Utah has won 14 straight. The home winning streak is Utah's longest since winning 20 in a row at the end of 1997-98 and the start of the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.
The run is Utah's longest in a single season since it won 19 in a row Jan. 19-March 29, 1996. The Jazz, who haven't lost at EnergySolutions Arena since a 104-98 defeat to Boston on Dec. 29, are tied with Dallas for the best home record in the league (24-3).
The Pistons have lost four in a row in Utah, where they have not won since Nov. 6, 2002, and are just 4-23 there since 1980. Overall, Detroit has dropped five straight against the Jazz since a 64-62 home win on March 13, 2005.
Detroit has won three straight overall and 13 of 15. Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups each had 20 points on Monday for the Pistons, winners of five of six on the road.
"This one was tougher (than the Phoenix game) because they came off two tough losses, and we knew they were going to come out fighting and hungry," Prince said. "Defensively, we've been doing a good job of changing up our defense to give teams different looks."
Carlos Boozer had 34 points and Deron Williams added 18 points and nine assists Tuesday for the Jazz, who lost for the second time in three games. Utah lost 114-104 on the road against the Clippers on Friday, but bounced back with a 100-94 home win against Atlanta the following day.
"Denver's been losing so we have a chance to spread that lead out, but we're not making the most of it," Williams said. "We saw New Orleans is falling, some other teams are falling, and we should be climbing up with these two wins, instead it's two losses to teams that aren't even in the playoffs."
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