Bogdanovic, Pistons beat Jazz for back-to-back road wins
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic scored 23 points and Kevin Knox II had a season-high 21 points, including a career-best six 3-pointers, to boost the Detroit Pistons to their second straight road win, 125-116 over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
Marvin Bagley III scored a season-high 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting and Alec Burks added 18 points for the Pistons, who were missing Cade Cunningham (shin), Saddiq Bey (ankle) and Isaiah Stewart (toe).
“It was big time. Every guy that is playing brought something to the table. Even if we are missing guys, we played great together with who we have,” Bogdanovic said.
The Pistons had lost seven in a row overall and 10 straight on the road before beating Denver on Tuesday, their first away victory this season. Despite playing back-to-back, the Pistons were quicker to the loose balls and seemed to grab all the 50-50 rebounds.
“Our togetherness brought us extra energy. That was a huge win last night and gave us big confidence and once again we played a great game,” Bogdanovic said.
Malik Beasley led Utah with 29 points and a season-high eight 3s while Jordan Clarkson had 24 points and Collin Sexton, starting for the injured Mike Conley (knee), set a career high with 12 assists.
Bogdanovic spent three years with the Jazz before he was traded in the deal that brought Kelly Olynyk to Utah. He played his best in clutch situations, as Jazz fans saw him do often.
“I spent a great three years here and had great runs to the playoffs so it was extra special to play in front of these great fans and get a win like that,” Bogdanovic said.
After the Jazz got within 113-110 with 3:49 to play, Bogdanovic found Burks for a 3-pointer and added two free throws while the Pistons held Utah scoreless for 3:22.
“We are just trying to help the young guys learn how to win,” Burks said. “That last 3 was all on (Bogdanovic). Great players make great plays. I just tried to help him out making the shot.”
The Pistons were up by as many as 14 in the first half before settling for a 66-54 halftime advantage, bolstered by a 15-2 edge in second-chance points.
“They came out hungry, aggressive and physical from the beginning and we did not,” Utah coach Will Hardy said. “As a team, we’ve gotten to this point by playing with a chip on our shoulder and I do not think we had that chip in the first half.”
Beasley had 14 more 3s than any other reserve player in the league coming into the game and continued to give the Jazz instant offense, especially on a night when they struggled defensively.
“We’re like 29th in transition but third in half-court (defense). … We got to play with a dog mentality and try to win every game. Go for loose balls, make it scrappy,” Beasley said.
The Pistons continually drove the lane and made layups or found wide-open 3-point shooters in the corners.
“Ball movement! We probably had only two possessions where we over-dribbled. … The ball moving beats any rotation in the league,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said
Pistons: Scored 17 points off nine Jazz turnovers in the first half. … Shot 25 of 27 from the line and had nine steals. … Killian Hayes (left calf) did not play in the second half.
Jazz: Lauri Markkanen, who leads the Jazz in scoring at 22.4 points per game, was scoreless in the first half and finished with 13 points. … Clarkson moved into fifth all-time for 3s made in Jazz history with 551, passing Bogdanovic. … Kessler, who had five rejections, is the leading shot blocker among rookies.
Pistons: At Phoenix on Friday.
Jazz: At Golden State on Friday.
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