SALT LAKE CITY — Rudy Gobert scored 24 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked four shots to lead the Utah Jazz to a 111-101 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.
Bojan Bogdanovic added 23 points, Jordan Clarkson had 20 and Mike Conley 19 for Utah (30-16), which ended a three-game losing streak at home and won only the second time in eight games in total.
“Winning helps heal a lot of things,” Conley said. “It felt like we hadn’t won in forever with the way we were playing and how we felt.”
Cade Cunningham scored 25 points to lead Detroit, which lost for the third time in four games. Trey Lyles had 16 points, Rodney McGruder 15 and Saddiq Bey 13.
The Pistons rallied from two separate 10-point deficits and cut Utah’s lead to one at 95-94 on a Josh Jackson floater midway through the fourth quarter. Gobert scored back-to-back baskets to prevent Detroit from overtaking the Jazz and extended the lead to six at 100-94 with 5:30 to go.
“I think we raised our level throughout the game,” said Gobert. “Our communication was good and we just competed.”
Gobert’s aggressiveness on offense helped Utah prevent the Pistons from executing another successful second-half comeback after recovering from a 22-point deficit to beat the Jazz in Detroit 11 days earlier. He went 8 of 11 from both the field and the free throw line to set a new season scoring record.
“We want to give Rudy the ball in situations where he can be most successful,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I don’t know if our guys can be more determined to give him the ball. It’s something I know he appreciates.
Detroit didn’t face Gobert the first time around because he was within health and safety protocols for COVID-19. His presence baffled the Pistons to do some of the same things that worked against Utah last time out.
“He’s a max player for a reason,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. “It protects the paint. It’s a different defensive team with him in there.
Utah led by a whopping 10 points in the first half, taking a 54-44 second-quarter lead behind an 8-0 run fueled by Gobert’s back-to-back field goals. Gobert scored 13 points in the second quarter overall and his downhill efforts helped the Jazz take an 18-4 advantage in the paint over that 12-minute streak.
The Pistons used a 9-0 run, capped by back-to-back field goals from Bey, to take a 67-64 lead in the third quarter.
Utah responded with an 11-1 run to come back ahead 85-75 later in the quarter. Trent Forrest scored a pair of baskets to punctuate the run and give the Jazz their second double-digit lead of the game.
“We had a few lapses where we lost guys and gave them open looks,” Cunningham said. “At the end of the day, we can’t give up on those types of looks. … We didn’t execute defensively and that’s what cost us the game.
Pistons: Killian Hayes (right hip contusion) did not play. … McGruder is averaging 16.3 points per game over his last three games. He shot 60% from the field in that streak.
Jazz: Donovan Mitchell (concussion) was sidelined for a second straight game. … Forrest scored a season-high eight points on 3-of-4 shooting. … Ingles’ steal with 1:30 left in the third quarter was the first of the game for Utah.
The Pistons scored just 34 points in the paint, tying a season low for a Jazz opponent. Detroit has scored just 10 baskets in the paint over the past three quarters after beating Utah 14-6 in the paint in the first quarter.
“That pretty much tells the story right there,” Snyder said. “That’s also what we saw late. Keep them off the rim.
Bogdanovic sported a left ring finger brace while speaking to reporters after the match. The injury didn’t affect his shooting much. He finished 7 of 15 from the field and 6 of 7 from the foul line.
The Jazz forward has been through considerable pain after injuring his finger in Utah’s loss to Houston on Wednesday.
“Long story – I don’t know what to say,” Bogdanovic said. “I got hit last game. He’s in bad shape right now.”
Pistons: At Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
Jazz: at the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.