SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – With a brutal stretch coming up against Golden State, Phoenix and Memphis, the Utah Jazz absolutely had to win Friday’s game against lowly Detroit.
But the way things are going for the Jazz these days, no game is easy.
Rudy Gobert scored 24 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked four shots to lead the Utah Jazz to a 111-101 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, snapping a 3-game home losing skid.
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.
“For us, we’re staying even-keeled,” said Clarkson. “That’s how we’ve got to approach it. We know we’re growing. But we can’t be on the roller coaster. We leave that to everybody else — the fans and all the critics or whatever. We’ve got to stay even-keeled, and know that the main goal and the main focus is getting to the playoffs and winning a championship here.”
“Winning helps cure a lot of things,” Jazz point guard 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.”
Utah led by as many 10 points in the first half, building a 54-44 second-quarter lead 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.
“It’s good to win a game when we don’t shoot well, and we did that,” said Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. “I thought our bench defensively did a really good job competing.”
Donovan Mitchell (concussion) was sidelined for a second straight game.
The Jazz next play at Golden State Sunday night at 6:30 p.m.