The Pistons started off well enough, putting up 50 points in the first half while keeping the visiting Utah Jazz to just 39 points including a 13-point first quarter. Then the third quarter started, and the slow second half start that has plagued the Pistons this season reared its ugly head in the form of an 11-point third quarter. The Pistons fought back with a Will Bynum charge in the fourth, but did not have enough to overcome their 11-point third quarter as the team blew what was an 11-point halftime lead to fall to the Utah Jazz 90-87.
To truly understand just how ineffective the Pistons were coming out of the halftime locker room look to Greg Monroe. The Pistons starter had 10 points going into the half, and appeared to have a solid foothold on the low block. Greg Monroe finished with only 12 points. The Jazz jammed the lane and blocked any form of offensive productivity from Monroe in the second half. Monroe couldn't match Utah's brand of physical basketball, leaving him scoreless in the third quarter.
The Pistons couldn't score the ball in the paint in the third quarter, and they couldn't defend the paint either. The Jazz dominated the lane in the third quarter as Utah's Al Jefferson put up 10 of his game-high 20 points— eight points came in the paint. In addition to Jefferson's attack, out of Utah's 48 points in the paint more than 30 of them came in the second half. The Jazz controlled the paint, and they ended up controlling the game.
Talking about this game without talking about Will Bynum's fourth quarter would be lunacy. Besides a pair of highlight, alley-oop assists to Andre Drummond, Will Bynum was fairly quiet before the fourth quarter. But with the Pistons trailing 11 points following a 19-8 Utah Jazz run, Bynum went on a scoring tear at the 2:00 mark in the fourth quarter.
Bynum scored eight straight Pistons points, while the Jazz only dropped in a single Gordon Hayward free throw. Trailing by only four points with 0:29 seconds on the clock, Bynum pulled a steal on Utah guard Randy Foye giving way to a Brandon Knight layup. The Pistons were only down two, but they'd stay down as the Jazz split a Paul Millsap free throw trip and weathered a final Pistons three-point attempt at the buzzer. Bynum finished with 13 points, all coming in the fourth quarter.
The Pistons have won seven of their last 10 games, but with two losses coming in the last three games against opponents the Pistons seemingly had a handle over (Charlotte and Utah), Saturday night's loss has an extra sting. The Pistons are off until Thursday, January 17th when the Pistons will take on the New York Knicks across the pond in London, England. That game can be seen on NBATV at 3:00 pm on Thursday afternoon.
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