Late turnovers cost Pistons again as Jazz come back to steal a win
Chris Schwegler (NBAE/Getty)
Three quick observations from Saturday night’s 110-105 loss to the Utah Jazz at Little Caesars Arena
SECOND-HALF SLIDE – It was Utah playing the back to back, but it was the Pistons that faltered in the fourth quarter. Utah, which trailed 31-13 after one quarter, took its first lead with eight minutes to play and used a 10-0 run not long after that to go ahead by 11 points, then hung on to hand the Pistons one of their most disappointing losses of the season. Turnovers, a recent Achilles heel, again were a big part of their undoing. After committing only four in the first half, the Pistons coughed it up 14 times in the second half alone with Utah scoring 25 points off turnovers for the game. That 18-point Pistons early lead was nearly erased by a 14-0 Utah run early in the second quarter. It was a tough night for Dwane Casey’s bench, forcing him to use Blake Griffin (34 points, 10 rebounds) and Andre Drummond (15 points, 18 rebounds) for long minutes. The Pistons used a 10-0 run early in the third quarter after Utah had pulled within a point to again lead by double digits. But the lead had been winnowed to two points to start the fourth quarter
WESTERN RUN – The Pistons didn’t play a Western Conference opponent until their 15th game of the season, but they’re making up for lost time. The Utah game was the second of seven consecutive games against teams from the West. After hosting San Antonio on Monday, the Pistons will take a four-game road trip against all Western teams. The Pistons are 5-4 against the West and some of their best wins have come against teams from the other conference – road wins at Minnesota and Memphis and wins at Little Caesars Arena against Golden State and Houston. Utah came into the game having played the NBA’s toughest schedule as its opponents held a cumulative winning percentage of .555. The Jazz are now 1-4 on the second night of a back to back.
MITCHELL AWAKENS – Donovan Mitchell made the All-Star team as a rookie last season but his resume wasn’t built at the Pistons’ expense. Mitchell averaged 14.0 points in two games against the Pistons last season, shooting 10 of 31 overall and 4 of 14 from the 3-point line with as many turnovers (eight) as assists. He wasn’t having much more success for a good chunk of the night in his third try, either. At halftime, Mitchell had two points, one rebound and one assist and had been roundly outplayed by Pistons rookie Bruce Brown, who had 10 points, a career-high four assists and two rebounds in the first half alone. Mitchell got pulled early in the third quarter for a brief time, then started making an impact late in the third quarter, scoring 10 in the quarter. He became even more assertive in the fourth quarter and finished with26, including a three baskets to repel the Pistons’ late comeback.