Pistons vs Jazz Game Preview - Feb. 26, 2011
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The Utah Jazz have problems, but nothing as severe as those potentially surrounding the Detroit Pistons.
Coming off their first victory under coach Tyrone Corbin, the Jazz look to win consecutive games for the first time in more than a month Saturday night while trying to continue their recent dominance of a Pistons club with issues on and off the court.Utah (32-27) snapped a five-game skid with a 95-84 victory at Indiana on Friday in its first game since trading All-Star Deron Williams to New Jersey for veteran Devin Harris, rookie forward Derrick Favors, two first-round draft picks and cash.Harris finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Al Jefferson scored 30 points and Paul Millsap added 23 with 18 boards as the Jazz improved to 1-4 since Corbin took over after Jerry Sloan abruptly retired Feb. 10.
The victory was the fifth in 19 games for the Jazz, tied with Memphis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"We still have a chance to do something special," said Jefferson, averaging 28.8 points the last four games. "We've got to come together and stick together and try to make a big run at the end of the season."
Utah has a good chance to make a run in a positive direction by winning back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 12-14.
The Jazz have won 11 straight against Detroit - tied for their longest current winning stretch against an opponent.
Utah will try for a sixth consecutive road win over the Pistons, who have given up 106.4 points per game to the Jazz in their last five meetings at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Millsap had 15 points with 10 rebounds in a 102-97 home win over the Pistons (21-39) on Jan. 3.
He's averaged 21.0 points the last three games overall and might be in for another big effort against Detroit, which could again be short-handed after using only six players in Friday's 110-94 loss at Philadelphia.
Several Pistons missed at least part of the team's shootaround Friday.
Richard Hamilton, Chris Wilcox, Rodney Stuckey and Austin Daye missed the bus, with Stuckey and Daye arriving late. Tayshaun Prince had an upset stomach, Tracy McGrady a headache and Ben Wallace tended to an unspecified family matter.
None played Friday night, and when suggested that those players had other motives for skipping the shootaround, coach John Kuester said, "sometimes perception is different than reality."
Kuester, who benched the disgruntled Hamilton on Jan. 12, was ejected in the second quarter Friday after he was whistled for two quick technical fouls. McGrady and his teammates laughed as their coach headed toward the locker room.
The possibility of dissension could stem from the Pistons' season-long struggles. They are 6 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the East, have lost six of seven and rank near the bottom of the league in scoring (95.1 ppg).
"I feel badly for John Kuester," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I think it's a black eye for the league. I know Detroit is in disarray right now at some level. You worry about a coach and, you know, his psyche after something like that happens."
Amid the possible team turmoil, Will Bynum scored 29 points while playing all 48 minutes. Greg Monroe added 16 with 11 rebounds as Detroit remained competitive despite its lack of personnel.
The Pistons have not beaten Utah since March 13, 2005.