Five-game jazz cap trip with pit stop in Detroit

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January 8, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, United States; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) dribbles the ball while Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (6) defends in the second half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz had a rough patch this weekend during their five-game trip. They will complete the trip in Detroit on Monday evening.

Utah started the trip with quality wins over New Orleans and Denver. The next two saves weren’t so successful, as the Jazz lost to Toronto 122-108 on Friday and Indiana 125-113 on Saturday.

“It’s a winnable game for us,” said Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. “We shot ourselves in the foot with too much stuff. We knew what we had to do, but we weren’t there to do it.

Mitchell did all he could offensively, providing 36 points and nine assists. He did not play the day before due to a back injury.

Utah has played without its defensive pillar, center Rudy Gobert, who is in league health and safety protocol. Forward Joe Ingles is also in protocol, but Mitchell didn’t want to use that as an excuse.

“If we want to be a champion team, we have to do it every night, and we didn’t (Saturday),” said Mitchell. “I know we didn’t have Joe and Rudy, but it was a winnable game for us.”

In Toronto, turnovers were a big factor as the Jazz entered 21 to nine for the Raptors. Toronto converted these freebies into 28 points.

The Pacers entered an attacking pace early on, scoring 33 points in the first quarter. They shot 55% from the field for the game. Domantas Sabonis scored a career-high 42 points without Gobert to patrol the interior.

“They had a player at Sabonis who had a great night,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “We tried to do a lot of different things against him. Around the basket, he was so efficient. … We were trying to help and obviously struggled to get it under control.

The Jazz will reach the middle of the season on Monday. Their 28-12 record is the third best in the Western Conference behind Phoenix and Golden State.

Detroit is headed for the lottery again. The Pistons have the second-worst record in the league, despite recording their eighth victory on Saturday. The 97-92 triumph came at the expense of the team behind them in the standings, the Orlando Magic.

The Pistons were blown away on their previous two outings in Charlotte and Memphis.

“They have to grow up. That’s where we are, ”said Pistons coach Dwane Casey. “I was proud of the way our guys came in (Saturday) and competed and closed.”

Detroit kept a slim lead over the Magic in the dying minutes. The game was not decided until Orlando missed a potential 3-point pointer and Cory Joseph made two decisive free throws.

“We needed it,” said forward Saddiq Bey. “We came out of two difficult games. They did a run on the stretch. We had to make sure we got together and finished the game.

Detroit had eight players in protocol over the past two weeks, and all but one have returned. The Pistons were led on Saturday by Hamidou Diallo with 17 points and Trey Lyles and Bey with 16 apiece. Diallo and Bey were the only rotation players who did not test positive for the virus.

This is the first of two meetings between Utah and Detroit this season. The Pistons will visit Salt Lake City on January 21.

–Field level media

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