Detroit After back-to-back games collapsed in the third quarter, the Pistons looked to overcome the lulls after halftime against the Utah Jazz in their final home game before Christmas.
Utah was on the second night of a losing streak after losing 122-99 to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, a game in which former Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points against his old team.
The Jazz came into this game ready to take that frustration out on the Pistons, who beat them at their home arena on November 20th.
However, the Pistons lost 32 points in the third quarter and 38 points total to Lauri Markkanen, who led the Jazz to a 126-111 win Tuesday night at Little Caesars Arena.
Detroit trailed by as much as 15 with seven minutes and 32 seconds remaining after Mike Beasley connected on his third triple of the night. It was enough for many fans to force their way to the exits. That lead eventually rose to 22 by the end of the game, clinching Detroit’s third straight loss.
Markkanen exploded with 16 points in the first quarter. It was a threat from all three levels of the Earth. He knocked down three three-pointers in that period, including one because he was fouled with 52 seconds left in the quarter. He also used a combination of moves to get to the basket, specifically when he faked Marvin Bagley III in the air before making his way to the basket for an easy dunk.
Markannen finished with a game-high 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting. He continued to score in the second half and ended the night with an impressive 3-point range performance, with 9-of-13 from outside the arc.
The Jazz knocked out 20 of 46 from behind the 3-point line as a team. Detroit only managed to connect on 9 of 25 from long range.
Jaden Ivey scored 30 points, four rebounds and five assists for the Pistons. He drilled both of his attempts from 3-point range, but also struggled to control the ball with five turnovers. He scored 18 of those points in the first half, part of an offensive clinic by the young rookie.
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Ivey’s most explosive play that night, after totaling three runs in Sunday’s loss to Brooklyn, occurred in the first quarter when he got past everyone and finished throwing the ball through contact as Jordan Clarkson caught him softly. Celebrate by bending towards the Pistons bench.
Kevin Knox II, who hit six three-pointers the last time the Pistons faced the Jazz, dropped two three-pointers in the first period to keep the game close. He finished the game with nine points and three rebounds. Bagley and Alec Burkes added 10 points each.
Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Doreen took turns hitting Walker Kessler in the first quarter. The Utah Jazz’s rookie center attempted to punt Stewart, but was denied at the edge. On the other end, Doreen caught a jab at Kessler to bring the crowd to her feet. One play later, Stewart got revenge on his dunk attempt again as he slammed one over Kessler to give the Pistons a 17-16 lead midway through the first quarter. After the timeout, Stewart lunged into two turns, just as they normally would while pitching the Pistons’ starting lineups.
Doreen recorded his sixth double of the season, with 15 points and 12 rebounds. He now single-handedly holds the top spot in double-doubles among rookies. Orlando Magic forward Paolo Panchero and Houston Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr. have five each.
Former Pistons player Kelly Olynyk did not play on Tuesday due to a sprained left ankle. He scored eight points and had six assists.
The Pistons will look to right the ship on Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers on the second night from noon to noon. If they shoot anything like Utah did on Tuesday, they’ll be well positioned to win. If not, they will be heading for another four-game losing streak.