DETROIT (AP) – Donovan Mitchell was having a quiet game offensively when he was pulled less than three minutes into the third quarter.
”I wasn’t doing enough on either end,” the Utah star said.
That changed in a hurry. Mitchell would eventually return and score 24 of his 26 points in the second half, and the Jazz outlasted the Detroit Pistons 110-105 on Saturday night. Utah rallied from an 18-point, second-quarter deficit.
The Jazz nearly squandered an 11-point lead of their own in the final quarter, allowing the Pistons to cut the lead to one on a 3-pointer by Blake Griffin. Ricky Rubio made two free throws for Utah with 12.3 seconds remaining, and then Detroit’s Reggie Jackson turned the ball over on a crosscourt pass.
Griffin scored 34 points for the Pistons.
Detroit led 38-20 before the Jazz ran off 14 straight points to get back in the game.
”We didn’t make it easy on ourselves, the way we started the game,” coach Quin Snyder said.
”I thought we started the game with the heart and fight you need to win in this league, but that didn’t continue with the second unit in the second quarter,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. ”They usually really bring energy, and it wasn’t there tonight. That continued into the second half.”
The Pistons built the lead back to 11 in the third, but Utah finally took the lead for the first time when Rudy Gobert’s dunk made it 85-84 in the fourth.
The Jazz went on a 19-4 run and led 99-88 after Joe Ingles made a 3-pointer from the corner and then waved goodbye in the direction of his teammates on the bench. The Pistons didn’t go away, though. A 3-pointer by Jackson cut the margin to four.
Mitchell answered that with a 3-pointer of his own to make it 102-95. Detroit kept chipping away and the lead was down to two after Griffin scored inside.
But Mitchell again came through, connecting on a midrange shot with 22 seconds left for a 106-102 lead.
Mitchell scored 12 points in the third quarter and 12 in the fourth. A fan in Detroit was apparently doing quite a bit of chirping at him, and Mitchell cited that as a reason for his big second half.
”It really just snapped for me,” Mitchell said. ”I don’t remember what he said, but after that, I just started being aggressive. It shouldn’t take for somebody to say something for me to play how I play, but that’s what happened.”
The Jazz wrap up their road trip Monday night in Milwaukee.