DETROIT (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz are hoping to have some representation when they host the NBA All-Star Game in February. Lauri Markkanen is making a pretty good case.
Markkanen matched a career high with 38 points, and set a career-high with nine 3-pointers, as Utah Jazz defeated the Detroit Pistons 126-111 on Tuesday night.
“Obviously, Lauri had an amazing game for us,” Utah coach Will Hardy said. “He really pushed us into the lead.”
Jarred Vanderbilt added 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz, who outscored Detroit 65-51 in the second half. Utah had at least 30 points in all four quarters.
“We’re going to score, but we have to take some pride in sitting down and guarding someone,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “If you don’t play with that conviction against Utah, they are going to hit those shots on you.”
Jordan Clarkson scored 21 for the Jazz, and Malik Beasley led the second unit with 17 points. Utah lost its previous two games by an average of 24.5 points, including a 122-99 defeat Monday in Cleveland.
“With this being the second of a back-to-back and our third game in four nights, we needed to get off to a good start,” Hardy said. “Detroit’s bench is so different than their starters that we really wanted to get ahead of the curve. The rhythm changes because their two lineups play such a different style.”
Jaden Ivey led Detroit with a season-best 30 points. Pistons rookie Jalen Duren had 15 points and 14 rebounds. He has at least 11 rebounds in seven straight games, matching Dwight Howard’s 2005 mark for the longest streak by a teenager.
“He brings a dominance on both ends,” Ivey said of his fellow rookie. “He’s dunking offensive rebounds, and defensively he’s so long and athletic that he can get deflections and blocks.”
Markkanen scored 19 points in the first half while Ivey had 18.
“All of them were catch and shoot threes,” Markkanen said. “So my teammates did a good job of finding me and getting me open with good screens. So, I was happy to see a couple go through the hoop.”
Utah led by one at halftime, then outscored the Pistons 34-25 in the third quarter to take a 95-85 lead into the fourth. Markkanen had nine points in the third, hitting all three 3-point attempts.
He added five more points in the first three minutes of the fourth, helping Utah build a 102-91 lead. The Jazz pulled away throughout the period, leading by as many as 22.
Markkanen made eight of his first 11 thre-point tries.
“I think this is the first game this season where he’s really bombed away from 3,” Hardy said. “But he still mixed in a few drives to the rim, so they couldn’t sell out to guard the 3.”
Utah’s starters outscored Detroit’s starters 94-71 despite Utah emptying its bench at the end of the game.
The Pistons have been outscored 171-107 on shots outside the paint in the last three games, including 66-37 against Utah.
“We know they are good 3-point shooters, but our energy wasn’t there tonight,” Ivey said. “We couldn’t find Markkanen and that opened things up for everyone else.”
The Jazz next host the Washington Wizards on Thursday.