NBA

Jazz try to continue mastery of Pistons

The last time the Detroit Pistons played a back-to-back, they followed up a woeful road loss with a stirring home victory.

They're hoping history repeats itself when they face the Utah Jazz at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Wednesday night.

Cleveland dismantled the Pistons 128-96 on Tuesday in a game that turned into a rout virtually from the start. The Cavaliers scored 44 first-quarter points and led 74-48 at halftime.

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"That was just a bad game," Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said. "They were great, we were terrible and that's why you get a lopsided game. At this point, there's no sense lamenting that one. We've got to move on and we've got a big game tomorrow night."

The Jazz have been hot lately, winning five of their last six, but the Pistons (33-34) showed resiliency in a similar situation last week. Detroit lost at Indiana 115-98 on March 8, then rallied the next night in the fourth quarter to beat the Cavaliers 106-101.

Fatigue won't be a factor on Wednesday as Van Gundy didn't use any of his starters more than 27 minutes Tuesday.

"That game was over. We didn't make any kind of run ever in that game," Van Gundy said of pulling his starters early. "At the start of the (second) half, I wanted to see if we could make a run and get it down under 15 and make it a game. We could never do that, so you live to fight another day."

The Jazz (42-25) begin a stretch of four road games in six nights against Eastern Conference opponents. Utah also makes stops in Cleveland, Chicago and Indiana before returning home.

A 114-108 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night gave the club a mental boost before it boarded the plane. The Jazz lost their previous two meetings to the Clippers, a potential first-round opponent in the Western Conference playoffs.

"We'll have our hands full. But I'm glad that we're going out there after a win like (Monday's)," forward Gordon Hayward told the Salt Lake City Tribune. "I think that gives you a little bit of confidence. It definitely makes you feel better on those long flights out east."

Hayward led the way with 27 points against an opponent that had defeated the Jazz nine consecutive times at their Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Northwest Division leader strengthened its hold on fourth place in the West, which would give it home-court advantage in the opening round.

"We obviously know what's at stake with potentially playing them again," forward Joe Ingles told the Tribune. "You don't think about it every day, but we know where we're standing. Everyone knows where we're standing. It was a big game."

Utah enjoyed great success over the years against Detroit. It owns a 58-35 overall advantage and crushed the Pistons in the first meeting this year 110-77 on Jan. 13. The Pistons won the season series a year ago but dropped eight of their last 10 home games to the Jazz.

In the first meeting, Utah outscored Detroit 65-34 in the second half. The Jazz had three players reach the 20-point mark.

"Did you watch the third quarter?" Van Gundy said after the game. "We couldn't score and they scored every time they got it."