Williams, Jazz edge Pistons
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Deron Williams netted 31 points and added
10 assists as Utah edged Detroit, 100-99, at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The Pistons had a chance to steal things in the waning seconds. After a
timeout with just 5.1 seconds remaining, Lindsey Hunter raced up the floor and
found an open Chauncey Billups on the right wing. But, the guard’s 17-foot
jumper fell harmlessly off the front of the rim as the Jazz held on.
Mehmet Okur added 22 points for the Jazz, who snapped a four-game skid. Carlos
Boozer chipped in with 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Billups returned from a strained calf to record 26 points for the Pistons, who
lost for the fourth time in five games. Tayshaun Prince tallied 17 points
while Antonio McDyess donated 16 points and nine rebounds.
The game also featured the Detroit debut of Chris Webber but the forward
wasn’t much of a factor.
Webber, who had his contract bought out by the Philadelphia 76ers last week,
shopped around a bit before officially signing a deal with his hometown
Pistons on Tuesday.
The five-time All-Star managed just two points and five rebounds in just over
15 minutes of action.
The Jazz entered the final frame with a slim two-point advantage but managed
to gain some breathing room. Okur’s fadeaway jumper, with seven minutes left,
put Utah on top, 82-75.
The Jazz continued to hold the Pistons at arm’s length as the game headed to
the stretch. Williams found Boozer underneath for a lay-in, with 2:30 on the
clock, to make it a 93-86 game.
Detroit refused to make it easy, however. Billups drew the Pistons to within
a point, 97-96, when he drained a pair of free throws with 1:06 left.
Then, after the teams exchanged three-pointers, a Williams jumper came up
empty for Utah and the Pistons corralled the rebound with 5.1 ticks left,
giving them a chance for the win.
The Jazz overcame a sluggish start with take a slim 26-24 edge after the
opening 12 minutes but Detroit recovered with an impressive second quarter to
go ahead 51-46 at intermission.
The see-saw nature of the game continued in the third quarter as Utah bounced
back to take a precarious 72-70 lead into the final frame.
The Pistons are now 10-8 as the host this season…Utah defeated Detroit,
103-101, on November 6 this season in Salt Lake City, and has won four
straight against Detroit.