Call it a 'bailout' victory.
It was in Detroit, after all.
One night after dropping a victory in Atlanta by coughing up a double-digit lead, the Jazz did the reverse against the Pistons on Saturday, winning 90-87 by recovering from a first quarter nearly as ugly as their fourth quarter against the Hawks. The Jazz have now won 3 of 5 — and 4 of 7 — on the road for just the second time this season.
GUARDS: Since Jamaal Tinsley logged just six minutes, Earl Watson (six assists, two turnovers, 26 minutes) and Alec Burks (12 points, three turnovers, 25 minutes) figured more into the rotation Saturday. Their combined effort matched Brandon Knight's 16-point, three-rebound evening in 35 minutes.
Another few 3-pointers from Randy Foye (17 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3 of 5 from distance) means that the seventh-year pro has made at least two in 8 of the past 11 contests. During that span, he's 27 of 54 — 50 percent! — from distance.
After missing two key 3-point attempts in clutch situations against Atlanta, Foye responded with two fourth-quarter treys against the Pistons. That deserves a positive half grade in of itself. GRADE: B+.
FORWARDS: Paul Millsap had 17 points and seven rebounds against the Pistons. Collectively, he and DeMarre Carroll (five points on 2-of-5 shooting, two steals) outplayed Detroit forwards Jason Maxiell (seven points, six rebounds) and Tayshaun Prince (eight points on 3-of-8 shooting). GRADE: B.
CENTERS: A big night from Al Jefferson (20 points, 10 rebounds, four steals) was slightly offset by Greg Monroe's 11-rebound, 6-of-9 shooting affair. However, the third-year center scored nearly four points below his season average. Monroe also came into the evening having scored 18 points in three straight games before a 26-point display Friday in a win over Milwaukee.
Averaging 17 points per game this season, Big Al has scored 20-plus points in 6 of the past 9 games. GRADE: B+.
BENCH: The Utah reserves were slightly outplayed by the Detroit bench, getting outscored 40-29. It's a good thing Burks was so effective since Gordon Hayward (2-of-8 shooting) struggled in 29 minutes. It's a wonder why Tyrone Corbin plays Hayward longer than normal when he struggles so much, yet limits other reserves like Hayward and Derrick Favors when they are hot. The surprising standout for the Pistons was rookie Andre Drummond (nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, five rebounds), who should have seen more opportunities to score in his 21 minutes, and Will Bynum (13 points on perfect 6-of-6 shooting and four assists in just 19 minutes). Bynum had seen more time in 6 of his past 7 outings.
After seeing 11-plus minutes in two dozen straight games, backup center Enes Kanter has seen 15 total (eight on Saturday) in the past two nights. GRADE: C-.
OVERALL: As they did last March, the Jazz roared back the next night from a tough defeat in Atlanta to beat a different Eastern Conference team. By the end of the first quarter, when it trailed 26-13, Utah certainly seemed headed in the opposite direction. That disparity of play completely reversed in the second half. Just 24 hours after the Jazz left reason to believe that they can't sustain themselves, they indicated otherwise. GRADE: B.
Rhett Wilkinson is a senior in communications and politics at Utah State University and the co-founder of Aggie BluePrint, USU's student magazine. A Deseret News editorial intern, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wilklogan
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