AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Gordon Hayward found his shooting touch at just the right time for the Utah Jazz on Sunday.
Hayward scored Utah’s last 11 points as the Jazz squeaked past the Detroit Pistons 97-96 at The Palace. He had only six points until his flurry in the final 4:46.
“I wish I could have made some shots early in the game, maybe we wouldn’t have been in that situation,” said Hayward, the team’s starting small forward and primary scorer. “Some of the coaches said keep shooting, keep being aggressive and I got some to fall. I got some easy ones and once you get a couple of easy ones, a couple of free throws, the basket opens up for you and I kind of just went from there.”
Hayward added four rebounds, four assists and three steals to go along with his 17 points.
“It shows a lot that you can have an average game and then show up when it counts,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said.
Power forward Derrick Favors contributed 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz (3-4), who began a five-game road trip, all against Eastern Conference teams. Center Enes Kanter and shooting guard Alec Burks added 14 points apiece and reserve forward Joe Ingles chipped in 10.
“I was proud we battled throughout the game,” Hayward said. “We could have given up. They had a double-digit lead on us in the second half and we fought back, made our run and were able to hold onto it. It was a big-time win, as far as I’m concerned, on the road.”
Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings led all scorers with 23 points but missed a 15-foot floater in the final seconds. Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy was exasperated by his team’s inability to close out a game it led by nine early in the fourth. Utah finished the game on a 19-9 run.
“We screwed up plays out of timeouts, we screwed up defensive coverages,” he said. “It’s not a matter of singling guys out, it’s just not winning basketball. You can’t win like that. You’re just relying on making difficult shots.”
Van Gundy didn’t go into detail on the final play but said Jennings was the “final option,” not the main one.
“Brandon’s got a tough runner at the end,” he said. “Very frustrating when you don’t do what you’re supposed to do.”
He was also frustrated by his transition defense, which helped the Jazz rally from an 11-point deficit.
“We gave up 19 fast-break points,” he said. “Inexcusable. If you’re going to do that, you’re usually going to lose.”
Power forward Greg Monroe had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Detroit (2-4) while forward Josh Smith contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Center Andre Drummond supplied 11 points and 18 rebounds while shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 11 points, all in the first half.
Drummond’s layup with 4:22 left in the third quarter gave Detroit its biggest lead at 75-64. Ingles’ 3-pointer in the opening seconds of the fourth cut it to two, 79-77. A Monroe tap-in finished off an 8-1 Pistons run to make it 87-78.
Utah scored eight of the next 10 points to pull within three and Hayward’s 3-pointer with 4:05 left tied it at 91. Hayward’s 3-pointer with two minutes remaining gave the Jazz a 96-94 edge. He hit one of two free throws with 1:24 left before Monroe’s layup with 28 seconds left made it a one-point game.
Hayward missed another 3-point try but Jennings misfired after a timeout.
NOTES: Pistons C Andre Drummond picked up at least five fouls in four of their first five games. Coach Stan Van Gundy believes he pushes off too much instead of raising his arms to defend and rebound. “It’s something he has to work his way out of,” Van Gundy said. “He’s just got some habits he has to break, and he will.” … The Pistons haven’t won the season series since 2002-03. Utah has now won 18 of the past 20 meetings. … Entering Sunday’s games, the Jazz had six players averaging double figures in points, led by SF Gordon Hayward’s 18.0. … Utah has 10 players who are 25 years old or younger on its 14-player roster. … Detroit wrapped up a four-game homestand and begins another later in the month, but only has two homestands that long the remainder of the season. … The Jazz don’t play a conference game until Nov. 18 against Oklahoma City.
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