No Cade Cunningham. No Isaiah Stewart. No Saddiq Bey. No problem.
The injury-stricken Detroit Pistons pulled off their second upset in as many nights on Wednesday when they defeated the Utah Jazz 125-116 at Vivent Arena. After starting the season 0-10 away, the Pistons have now won back-to-back away games against the second- and fifth-best teams in the Western Conference.
It was another even performance for Detroit, as Bojan Bogdanovic (23 points, five rebounds), Kevin Knox (season-high 21 points, 6-for-8 of 3), Marvin Bagley III (19 points, 9-for-10 shooting). ). , six rebounds), Alec Burks (18 points) and Jaden Ivey (16 points, six rebounds, five assists) each had double-digit goals.
It was a home game for Bogdanovic, who returned to Utah for the first time since his September trade. He played for the Jazz from 2022-22.
After shooting more than 50% on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday and Tuesday against the Denver Nuggets, the Pistons shot 49.4% on Wednesday and are right in the middle of their best offensive stretch of the season, though three of their best five players are missing. They’ve also scored at least 120 points in three of their last four games, having broken the threshold just once in their last 16 games.
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Detroit led by as much as 14 points, but Utah cut the deficit to three at 3:49 to play with a driving layup from Jordan Clarkson. Burks responded at the other end with a clutch-3 pointer, and the Pistons finished the game by going 9-for-10 at the free-throw line in the final two minutes. The Pistons took 58 points off their bench and shot 50% – 12 to 24 – from 3.
Killian Hayes missed the second half with a left calf injury.
Knox stays hot
Early in the fourth quarter, Knox closed too hard on a 3-point attempt from jazz wing Simone Fontecchio. The Italian sniper made all three free throws, cutting the Pistons’ lead to three.
Knox responded by doing what he had been doing all week – hitting shots. He made contact at the line and made two free throws from the ensuing possession, then knocked down a 3-pointer, his fourth of the night, to extend the lead to eight.
He went on to hit two more 3s in the fourth en route to a season-best 21 points, his third straight game going into double figures. He had 17 points in Tuesday’s win against the Nuggets and 11 in their loss to the Kings. Arguably more than anyone else on the roster, he has benefited from Detroit’s injury struggles and has been a strong advocate of staying in the rotation once the team begins to heal.
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Knox’s six 3-pointers and eight tries were both career highs. He was a major factor in Detroit’s unexpected offensive boost this week. He started early on Wednesday, knocking down two 3-pointers in the last two minutes of the first quarter to help the Pistons build a 30-25 lead by the end of the period.
Hayes leaves the game with a calf injury
Detroit’s injury woes continue to mount as Hayes left the game midway through and was slow to return to Detroit’s bench after injuring his calf in the first half. It’s not clear when the injury struck but the third-year guard suffered a bad fall in the final five minutes of the second quarter after falling following a layup attempt.
Hayes had played some of the best basketball games of his career before the injury, shooting 38.3% from 3 in his last six games. If Hayes misses time, the Pistons will leave Ivey and Cory Joseph as their two healthy point guards. Burks can also play point guard, although he’s more natural as a winger.
This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Pistons Claim Second Straight Victory, 125-116 Over Jazz