Jefferson guides Jazz to comeback win over Pistons
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Al Jefferson compiled 20 points and 10 rebounds and the Utah Jazz overcame a 13-point second-half deficit to post a 90-87 win over the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Jefferson racked up 10 of his points on 5-of-6 shooting during a third quarter in which the Jazz outscored Detroit by a 25-11 count to move ahead after trailing 50-39 at halftime.
Randy Foye added 17 points -- 11 of which came after halftime -- and Paul Millsap also had 17 along with seven rebounds for Utah, which improved to 5-2 thus far in January.
Brandon Knight led the Pistons with 16 points and Will Bynum made all six of his field goal attempts in a 13-point display in a losing cause. Detroit, which had won five of its last six coming in, also received 12 points and 11 rebounds out of Greg Monroe.
The Jazz shot just 43.2 percent and committed 10 turnovers during a sloppy first half, and were down 54-41 two minutes into the third quarter before finally beginning to get into a groove.
Jefferson recorded eight points during a pivotal 15-2 run that got Utah back it in, with Foye capping the stretch with a basket from beyond the arc that forged a 56-56 tie with four minutes remaining in the third period.
"We played great defense," said Jefferson of how the Jazz rallied. "We talked to each other, we helped each other, and then all of a sudden [Detroit's] shots weren't coming so easy."
The Jazz closed out the quarter strong as well, with Millsap's driving layup putting the club in front by a 62-61 count and Earl Watson ending the frame with two successful free throws that gave Utah a 3-point edge.
Detroit would regain the upper hand when Austin Daye sank a 3-pointer with 8:38 left to make the score 72-71 in the Pistons' favor, but Foye buried a triple on the ensuing possession to kick-start a 17-3 spurt that broke open the game for Utah.
Foye knocked down another trey during the burst, this one giving the Jazz an 86-75 advantage with 4:09 to go, and Alec Burks followed with an uncontested slam off a Pistons turnover to extend the margin to 13.
Detroit would make a strong late bid, however, with Bynum leading a 12-1 run that ended with a Knight layup off his teammate's steal that pulled the Pistons within 89-87 in the final seconds.
Millsap hit 1-of-2 foul shots to make it a 3-point game and give Detroit a chance to force overtime, but Knight's long-distance try just prior to the buzzer missed the mark.
"I thought we showed resolve," said Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank. "I thought Will led us with resolve getting back in it. That third quarter is where initially the game changed."
Detroit was in control for most of the first half, beginning the contest on a 13-4 tear and shooting a scorching 68.8 percent (11-of-16) in building a 26-13 lead by the conclusion of the opening quarter. Knight led the way with 10 points.
Utah closed the gap a bit in the second quarter, with Foye's jumper with 2:09 before the break trimming the Pistons' advantage to 44-49, but Detroit ended the half on a 6-0 flurry to go into the locker room up by double digits.
The Jazz have now won a league-best 10 times when trailing by 10 or more points in a game this season ... Utah shot 58.8 percent from the floor and forced 10 Detroit turnovers over the final two quarters ... Jazz forward Marvin Williams sat out a third straight game with a right knee injury ... Utah has prevailed in 13 of the last 14 meetings between the teams and has gone 6-1 in Detroit over that span.
01/12 23:54:56 ET