Third-quarter lapses prevented the Detroit Pistons from carrying a three-game winning streak into their home game against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.
Following an overtime victory in Charlotte on Wednesday, the Pistons established halftime leads against the Sacramento Kings on Friday and the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. The advantages quickly evaporated when Detroit came out of the locker room for the second half.
The Pistons led the Kings by eight points at the break, but Sacramento outscored Detroit 38-23 in the third quarter while claiming a 122-113 victory. The Nets were down 17 points at halftime but erased the deficit with a 44-25, third-quarter outburst. Brooklyn left Detroit with a 124-121 win.
“We played three good quarters of basketball, and it was the nemesis that we talked about before the game and at halftime: the third quarter,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said following the Sunday game. “We have to understand the disposition that you have to come out with. We had a 17-point lead and then we came out of halftime like they weren’t going to come out and play.”
Nets star Kevin Durant scored 26 of his 43 points during the quarter. Kyrie Irving finished off Brooklyn’s comeback by scoring 14 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter.
“Great team like they are, you know they’re going to come out guns blazing,” Casey said. “That’s why we called early timeouts again to try to get their attention.
“I don’t know if it’s just having two rookies in the lineup, but they have to understand. They did a great job in the first half. Now come out, make a muscle. It’s going to be a street fight. And compete in the second half, make good decisions.
Casey added, “Once (the Nets) turned their water on, it’s hard to turn it off. It’s something we’re going to continue to work on. Lot of good stuff, lot of growth. We’re not getting rewarded.”
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pistons with 26 points but missed potential tying 3-point shots on Detroit’s last two possessions.
Bogdanovic had a team-high 23 points when the Pistons defeated the Jazz 125-116 in their first meeting this season, on Nov. 23 in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz will try to bounce back from a pair of thrashings on the road. They lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 123-97 on Saturday, then got pummeled by the Cleveland Cavaliers and former teammate Donovan Mitchell 122-99 on Monday.
The Jazz trailed the Cavaliers 62-44 at halftime. Cleveland never let up, shooting 61.4 percent from the field while making 15 of 26 3-point attempts. The Cavaliers had a 29-2 advantage in fastbreak points.
“Credit to the Cavs. They kicked our (butts),” first-year Utah coach Will Hardy said. “They played with great tempo and they bothered us with their physicality. I thought for the most part we continued to compete, but we never seemed to catch a rhythm on the offensive end.”
Utah shot 38.7 percent from the field, but even a better offensive performance wouldn’t have offset its defensive lapses. Mitchell scored 23 points in 23 minutes and six other Cavaliers scored at least 12 points.
“There were a lot of loud baskets tonight.” Hardy said. “Our physicality on the ball wasn’t good enough.”
A loss to the Pistons would drop the Jazz to the .500 mark for the first time this season.
–Field Level Media