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SALT LAKE CITY UT- NOVEMBER 23: Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz drives past KevinKnox II #20 of the Detroit Pistons during the first half of their game November 23, 2022 at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)

"Have To Do A Better Job" | Jazz Struggle On Defense, Fall To Detroit On Wednesday Night

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

Despite an impressive offensive performance, Utah couldn't string together enough stops defensively and fell 125-116 to Detroit on Wednesday night.

"I thought we played pretty good basketball in the second half," head coach Will Hardy said. "As a team, I thought we got to where we are by having a chip on our shoulders. … I do not think we had that chip on our shoulders tonight."

Even in the loss, it was a memorable night for Jordan Clarkson.

With a three-pointer midway through the third quarter, he moved into fifth all-time in Jazz franchise history for made three-pointers. Ironically he moved past former teammate Bojan Bogdanovic, who had a great view of the shot as he was on the court playing for Detroit.

Overall, Clarkson finished with 24 points, three rebounds, and two assists. He was particularly effective in the third quarter, finishing with nine points while keeping the Jazz afloat against the hot-shooting Pistons.

After his worst shooting performance of the season two nights ago, Malik Beasley insisted that nothing would change in his routine. He said his confidence would never waver, believing the next shot was going in.

Turns out he was right.

Beasley was sensational for the Jazz off the bench, finishing with a team-high 29 points on 8-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc. He added a career-high 11 rebounds and five assists — his first double-double of the season.

He was particularly deadly in the first half, scoring 17 points and single-handedly keeping the Jazz in the game. Whenever Utah needed a big bucket, Beasley was unafraid to be the one taking it.

With Mike Conley still dealing with a left knee injury, Collin Sexton made his second consecutive start. After a rough go of things on Monday, Sexton looked like a different player running the offense on Wednesday.

He finished with 17 points and a career-high 12 assists, shooting 7-of-12 from the floor.

Despite playing in Denver last night, the Pistons came out with energy after jumping to an early 14-5 lead. But Beasley made an immediate impact, igniting an 18-6 Utah run with a layup just seconds into checking in.

Leading by two, the Jazz could not keep the momentum as Detroit ended the quarter on a 9-2 run — leading 30-25.

The beginning of the second belonged to Detroit as they extended their lead to 49-35 midway through the quarter. Utah responded 12-2 run as Clarkson caught fire, scoring seven points during that span. But once again, the Jazz were unable to keep the momentum. Bojan Bogdanovic took over, scoring nine points during a 13-4 run for the Pistons.

Utah trailed 66-54 at the half.

The message at the half appeared to work as Utah started the third on a 7-2 run, seizing momentum and igniting the Vivint Arena crowd. However, it was short-lived as Marvin Bagley was unstoppable for the Pistons, helping push the lead back to 13 midway through the third.

Although the offense remained elite for the remainder of the quarter, the Jazz couldn't string together enough defensive stops to cut into the lead. A pair of Simone Fontecchio three-pointers got the deficit down to four, but Detroit rallied with a 4-0 run to end the quarter.

Utah trailed 98-90 heading into the final 12 minutes.

The fourth quarter was back and forth, but the Jazz couldn't pull even. Despite big shots from Lauri Markkanen, Beasley, and Fontecchio, Detroit always had an answer.

After the Jazz pulled within three, the Pistons responded with a 5-0 run. After Utah got it back down to four, another 5-0 run gave Detroit a 110-101 lead with just under seven to play.

The Jazz cut the deficit to three with just over two minutes to play and appeared to get the ball back on offense, but a no-call by the officials gave Detroit the ball. Markkanen took an elbow to the face from Detroit's Jalen Duren, but no foul was called, resulting in the Pistons' possession and an ensuing three-pointer.

"I thought the game was lost in the first half with our lack of defensive energy. … I have to do a better job of getting our guys prepared," Hardy said.

Markkanen finished with 13 points — all in the second half — and eight rebounds, while Fontecchio added 10 points.

The Jazz have Thanksgiving off before returning to action for a brutal back-to-back, set to begin at Golden State on Friday before traveling to Phoenix on Saturday. Tipoff in the Bay Area is set for 8 p.m. MST.