SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points, and the Utah Jazz held off a late rally to beat the Detroit Pistons Tuesday night, 117-105.
Mike Conley added 20 points and Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 18 for Utah, which reclaimed the NBA’s best record with the Los Angeles Clippers loss to the Brooklyn Nets earlier on Tuesday. Royce O’Neale tallied 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The Jazz (16-5) won their ninth straight home game.
Jerami Grant scored 27 points to lead Detroit and Josh Jackson added 22. Mason Plumlee totaled 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Pistons. Detroit (5-16) lost its second straight game.
The Pistons trailed by as many as 28 points in the first half before rallying late in the fourth quarter. Jackson, Grant, and Plumlee scored baskets on three straight possessions to fuel a 10-1 run that cut Utah’s lead to 109-105 with 2:06 left.
Bogdanovic slammed the door on a further rally with back-to-back corner threes, giving the Jazz a 115-105 lead with 48.6 seconds to go.
“The biggest thing is being able to withstand that push,” Mitchell said. “They made a hell of a run and we made a hell of a counter.”
Mitchell and Conley each scored a pair of baskets on the first four Jazz possessions and it helped Utah build up a 24-9 lead in the first quarter. The Jazz capitalized on poor shooting from the Pistons. Detroit missed 12 of its first 16 shots and trailed by double digits for much of the quarter. Utah shot 54% from the field in the same stretch.
The Pistons went nearly five minutes during the first quarter without scoring a basket before Grant’s jumper with 2:08 left in the quarter ended the drought.
Things did not improve for the Pistons on either end of the court in the second quarter. Detroit trimmed the deficit to 45-33 on Plumlee’s tip dunk. Utah quickly ripped off a 9-0 run to keep the Pistons from pulling within single digits. Bogdanovic scored back-to-back 3-pointers to spark the brief spurt.
The Jazz then scored on seven straight possessions to extend their lead to 69-41 later in the quarter. Utah hit eight free throws during that stretch to pull away from Detroit.
“Sometimes when you build a big lead like that, the whole narrative becomes, “what happened?′ because you didn’t win by 30,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “These are NBA teams. They’re good teams. There’s going to be runs. The big thing for us is to make that hard.”
The Jazz allowed an increased number of fans into the game on Tuesday, opening up the upper bowl of Vivint Arena to permit socially distanced seating in those sections. Attendance for the game was 3,902 after being limited to 1,932 fans through the teams first 10 home games.
The Jazz now begin a 3-game road trip Thursday night in Atlanta.