The Detroit Pistons have gained some confidence after three consecutive wins against teams with losing records, but a win against the Utah Jazz—a team they haven’t beaten in three years—might be more difficult.
The Pistons look to avoid a seventh straight loss to the Jazz on Friday when the teams meet at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Since a 64-62 win over Utah in 2005, Detroit (14-9) has lost six straight to the Jazz (16-11), losing three in a row at home to them by an average of only five points. The Pistons have given up 100 points in their last four games against the Jazz.
Detroit comes in with some momentum after a third straight win, 88-74 over Washington on Wednesday. The Pistons held the Wizards to 33.3 percent shooting and Allen Iverson had 28 points and six rebounds.
Iverson, who is averaging 18.1 points, was 10-of-16 from the field. It was his second straight game with at least 20 points - the first time he has had back-to-back 20-point efforts since mid-November.
“I just waited for my opportunity and when it came I just took advantage of it,” said Iverson, who had his highest scoring game since a 30-point night at Sacramento on Nov. 11. “I was probably in the best groove since I got here.”
Rodney Stuckey has also stepped up his game recently. He had 18 points and matched a career high with 11 assists on Wednesday as the Pistons improved to 6-1 when he starts at the point. He’s averaged 15.5 points and 10 assists in his last four starts.
The Pistons haven’t won four in a row since opening the season with four victories, and are trying for their first win against a team with a winning record since an 89-77 victory over San Antonio on Dec. 2.
The Jazz had lost two straight before rebounding with a 103-92 win over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday. Utah got off to a slow start, scoring just seven points in the first quarter. Deron Williams had just one point during his first 10 minutes on the floor in the opening period.
“He was struggling in his game, because if you don’t execute, the point guard doesn’t get anything done,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “And other guys just were looking to take shots. They weren’t looking to win the game. They were looking to take shots.”
The Jazz rallied as Williams finished with 17 points and 11 assists. Mehmet Okur had 23 points to lead Utah in scoring.
Okur is averaging 19.7 points in six career starts—all wins—against Detroit, the club with which he played his first two seasons and won an NBA title with in 2004.
C.J. Miles and Ronnie Brewer were benched the entire second half for Utah on Wednesday. Miles has started 27 games and Brewer 26, but both may find their starting jobs in jeopardy. Andrei Kirilenko and Kyle Korver took their places in the lineup in the second half against the Nets and Korver had season highs of 18 points and nine rebounds.