Utah (16-17) at Detroit (26-4)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Auburn Hills, MI
Temp: 67° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Sat Jan 7, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Detroit Pistons get a chance to avenge one of the rare losses during their franchise-record start and extend their home winning streak to 10 games when they host the Utah Jazz.

Detroit is a league-best 26-4, matching the start by Phoenix last season.

Only five teams have started better after 30 games—the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers, 1969-70 New York Knicks, 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, 1990-91 Portland Trail Blazers and the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. Those teams all went 27-3.

Though Detroit is off to a hot start, it has lost three of its last four meetings with Utah. The Pistons had a six-game winning streak snapped with a 92-78 loss at the Delta Center on Dec. 12.

Former Piston Mehmet Okur had 24 points and 12 rebounds as Utah rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit. Detroit was also hammered on the glass, 55-27.

Okur is averaging 16.7 points and 10.0 rebounds in three career games against his former team.

Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and Ben Wallace all were called for technical fouls in the loss.

“I’m sick of this …,” said Wallace, who cursed twice in postgame comments regarding the officiating.

Wallace was one of the keys as Detroit improved its NBA-best home record to 14-1 with a 97-85 win over Seattle on Friday. The center had 13 points and a season high-tying 21 rebounds as the Pistons held a 54-41 rebounding advantage.

“Ben was huge,” Billups said. “The defense he played (was) helping everybody. He just had so much energy. He was just Ben Wallace. That’s what I’m accustomed to seeing, him dominating the game like that.”

Detroit has outscored its opponents at home by an average of 13.2 points. The Pistons are 6-0 at home against Western Conference opponents.

Utah had a five-game winning streak snapped with an 87-65 loss at Memphis on Friday. The Jazz failed to reach 70 points for the third time this season and also missed a chance to take over first place in the mediocre Northwest Division.

Andrei Kirilenko made 8-of-14 shots for 20 points, but it was a rough night for the rest of the starters. The other four went a combined 7-of-33 from the field as Utah shot 31 percent.

“We threw everything out the window that we’d been doing to help us win the last five games,” Utah rookie guard Deron Williams said. “I don’t know. It’s very frustrating.”

This will be the first time Williams will get a chance to match up at point guard with Billups, who is an early candidate for MVP honors. Williams missed the first meeting with an ear infection.

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