SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Rudy Gobert scored 24 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked four shots to lead the Utah Jazz to a 111-101 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.
Bojan Bogdanovic added 23 points, Jordan Clarkson had 20 and Mike Conley 19 for Utah (30-16), which snapped a three-game home losing streak and won for just the second time in eight games overall.
“Winning helps cure a lot of things,” Conley said. “It felt like we hadn’t won in forever with the way we had been playing and how we’ve been feeling.”
Cade Cunningham scored 25 points to lead Detroit, which lost for the third time in four games. Trey Lyles had 16 points, Rodney McGruder 15 and Saddiq Bey 13.
The Pistons rallied from two separate 10-point deficits and cut Utah’s lead to one at 95-94 on a floater from Josh Jackson midway through the fourth quarter. Gobert scored back-to-back baskets to prevent Detroit from overtaking the Jazz and pushed the lead back to six at 100-94 with 5:30 left.
“I thought we raised our level throughout the game,” Gobert said. “Our communication was good and we just competed.”
Gobert’s aggressiveness on offense helped Utah prevent the Pistons from executing another successful second-half comeback after they rallied from a 22-point deficit to beat the Jazz in Detroit 11 days earlier. He went 8 of 11 from both the field and the free-throw line on his way to setting a new season high in scoring.
“We want to get Rudy the ball in situations where he can be most successful,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I don’t know if our guys can be any more committed to getting him the ball. That’s something I know he appreciates.”
Detroit did not face Gobert the first time around because he was in health and safety protocols for COVID-19. His presence flummoxed the Pistons from doing some of the same things that worked against Utah the last time.
“He is a max player for a reason,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. “He protects the paint. They’re a different defensive team with him in there.”
Utah led by as many as 10 points in the first half, building a 54-44 lead in the second quarter behind an 8-0 run fueled by Gobert’s back-to-back baskets. Gobert scored 13 points during the second quarter overall and his effort down low helped the Jazz enjoy an 18-4 scoring advantage in the paint during that 12-minute stretch.
The Pistons used a 9-0 run, capped by back-to-back baskets from Bey, to surge ahead 67-64 in the third quarter.
Utah answered with an 11-1 run to go back in front 85-75 later in the quarter. Trent Forrest scored a pair of baskets to punctuate the run and give the Jazz their second double-digit lead of the game.
“We had a couple of lapses where we lost guys and gave them some open looks,” Cunningham said. “Down the stretch, we can’t give up those types of looks. … We didn’t execute on the defensive end and that’s what cost us the game.”
Pistons: Killian Hayes (right hip contusion) did not play. … McGruder is averaging 16.3 points per game over his last three contests. He has shot 60% from the field in that stretch.
Jazz: Donovan Mitchell (concussion) was sidelined for a second straight game. … Forrest scored a season-high eight points on 3-of-4 shooting. … Ingles’ steal with 1:30 left in the third quarter was the first of the game for Utah.
The Pistons scored only 34 points in the paint, tying a season low for a Jazz opponent. Detroit made just 10 baskets in the paint over the final three quarters after outscoring Utah 14-6 in the paint during the first quarter.
“That pretty much tells the story right there,” Snyder said. “That’s what we saw late, too. Kept them off the rim.”
BOJAN BANGED UP
Bogdanovic sported a brace on his left ring finger while addressing reporters following the game. The injury did not affect his shooting much. He finished 7 of 15 from the field and 6 of 7 from the foul line.
The Jazz forward played through considerable pain after injuring the finger during Utah’s loss to Houston on Wednesday.
“Long story — I don’t know what to say,” Bogdanovic said. “I got hit the last game. It’s in bad shape right now.”
Pistons: at Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
Jazz: at Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports