AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — When Marvin Williams’ scoreless game at San Antonio was mentioned during a shootaround interview Friday morning, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin quickly came to his player’s defense.
“Guys always look at a guy’s points and say he’s struggling. There’s more to the game than that,” Corbin said. “He didn’t score for us (Wednesday), but I thought his minutes on the floor (were) really good for us.”
Williams did score — and a lot — for the Jazz on Friday night in their 110-89 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
The Jazz’s starting power forward finished with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting to snap out of a mini-scoring slump at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Williams had only scored 10 total points while shooting 4 for 14 in the three games.
Corbin called Williams’ performance “huge,” in part because of the way it helped open up the interior for fellow bigs Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
“He’s capable of making big shots,” Corbin said. “I thought he got off to a big start for us.”
Not to just look at a guy’s points and say he succeeded, Williams also had seven rebounds, an assist, a blocked shot and a plus/minus rating of +15 in 22 minutes.
“What felt best to me was to beat a good team the way we beat them in their building. That feels better than any personal stat that I can get,” Williams said. “Obviously, to bounce back from the game I had in San Antonio feels good.”
Williams made it a point to make a bigger difference Friday against the Pistons — something that was noticeable right off the bat when he hit an early 3-pointer to put the Jazz up 5-2.
“I wasn’t aggressive at all in San Antonio,” he said. “I wanted to make a point to come out and be aggressive early, and that’s what I did, and I kind of carried it throughout the game.”
This was the first double-digit scoring game for Williams since he had 12 in the Jazz’s 112-101 win over Oklahoma City on Jan. 7. It was also his best rebounding game since a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double on Dec. 30.
TURK TIME: Jazz center Enes Kanter logged his seventh consecutive game in double figures with 18 points (and seven rebounds) off the bench.
“It’s fun to watch,” Corbin said.
Asked about his strong play of late, Kanter deflected personal praise to his team.
“Not just for me but for us, we’ve been playing really good basketball,” he said. “Coming from the bench, I think we’ve been playing with lots of energy.”
Corbin, however, was happy to compliment the 21-year-old for working his way out of a rough stretch in November and December.
“Through his struggles, he continues to work and now you’re seeing the fruit of his labors,” Corbin said. “It’s exciting to see him continue to have good game after good game after good game. We want to extend that for a long period of time. That’s growth. How long can you stay in a good run?”
HOMECOMING: Alec Burks admitted it was “weird” to return to Denver for the first time after playing at Colorado for two seasons, but he thinks it might be a bigger deal for Trey Burke to be back in Michigan because of his popularity.
“He’s a grown man. He’ll get through it,” Burks said Friday morning of Burke, who got through it by scoring 20 points with 12 assists in the big win over the Pistons. “He still knows it’s a game even though he’s coming back to his state.”
Burks has been impressed with how the reigning Western Conference rookie of the month hasn’t been distracted this season.
“He gets a lot of attention,” Burks said, “and for him to not notice, I feel like that’s amazing.”1 comment on this story
NO TEMPTATION: The Pistons continued a fun tradition of having well-known performers put on a quick halftime show at Friday night games. This week's act: The Temptations. The Motown legends sang for about 10 minutes, incluing their huge hit "My Girl," and received hand slaps from Jazz players Richard Jefferson, Diante Garrett and Ian Clark as they exited the court.
Corbin smiled when asked if he caught part of the performance.
"I wish I could," he said. "I missed it. I had something else on my mind."