It’s always a little special to play your former team but I just got it going a little bit and you might have a little extra energy, I don’t know. —Jazz forward Jonas Jerebko
SALT LAKE CITY — Former Piston Jonas Jerebko, who spent four plus years in Motown from 2009-14, didn’t take it easy on his old team in Vivint Arena Tuesday night.
Jerebko put up 16 points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench to help the Utah Jazz return from a three-game road trip and hand Detroit a 110-79 loss.
“It’s always a little special to play your former team but I just got it going a little bit and you might have a little extra energy, I don’t know,” said Jerebko, who was drafted 39th overall by Detroit in 2009.
Utah has now won 19 of its last 21 games and seven in a row. Jerebko also burned his former Boston Celtics team with 17 points and seven rebounds in Beantown on Dec. 15.
“Jonas has to focus on the things that make Jonas effective,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “And that means quick decisions, catch and shoot threes, swing the ball and chase it and just his activity on offense.
“His cutting was really good, and I think on the defensive end, he’s taken a lot more pride in being solid and not breaking down.”
After the first 12 minutes, it was clear who was the better team in Salt Lake City Tuesday night.
The Utah Jazz shot a season-high 81 percent from the field, 66.7 percent from behind the 3-point line, outscored the bench 18-2 and led the Pistons 42-21 to end the first quarter. Those 42 points were the highest scoring quarter this season for Utah.
And they never looked back.
Through three quarters, Jazz big man Rudy Gobert logged 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks while being matched up against Pistons All-Star Andre Drummond, who spent most of the first half in foul trouble.
Gobert would finish with 22 points, 12 boards and two swats while shooting 9-for-12. Pistons big men Drummond and Blake Griffin combined for 26 points and 13 rebounds. They both finished with 13 points, but Drummond also grabbed 11 rebounds.
“We didn’t stabilize anything,” said Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. “That game was over after one quarter.
“They came out, blitzed us and played great at both ends,” he added. “Hit a lot of threes. Played well defensively. Turned us over a lot, and when we did get shots, we couldn’t make them. It was just a great night for them and a tough night for us.”
Detroit shot just 37.5 percent from the field, trailed by as many as 39 and never led throughout the night.
That first-quarter boost is what set the tone for the remainder of the game for Utah. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind about that, and Jerebko played a big role in the victory, helping Utah outscore Detroit 42-36 off the bench.
“I thought we came out in the right frame of mind just to defend and pay attention to detail on the defensive end,” Snyder said. “When you do that usually, you become instinctive offensively."
Donovan Mitchell also finished with a career-high nine rebounds and 13 points while Jae Crowder added 14 points off the bench and Joe Ingles ended with 17 points and seven dimes.
Derrick Favors grabbed four rebounds with 12 points to pass Mehmet Okur for No. 10 on the all-time Jazz rebounding list (3,602).
Utah (38-30) will look to extend its streak to eight in a row against Phoenix at home on Thursday at 7 p.m.
"I think it just gets better and better," Jerebko said. "The longer the season goes, the more time we play together, the more we start getting to know each other. We're clicking right now and we're just going to keep building."