The Pistons put up 30 points in the first quarter and had a 15-point lead with about five minutes left in the third, then self-destructed against the Jazz -- again.
The Jazz rallied to beat the Pistons 103-95 Wednesday night, extending Utah's winning streak over Detroit to six games in a row. The Jazz held the Pistons without a field goal for almost 12 minutes between the end of the third and midway through the fourth. Paul Millsap led Utah's comeback by scoring 16 of his 19 points in the second half and Mehmet Okur capped it by making three 3-pointers down the stretch against his former team.
"Paul was terrific tonight. He got us going and Memo came in and finished it off for us. Great, great comeback," said Carlos Boozer, who had 18 points and 15 rebounds for Utah.
Deron Williams had 14 points and 14 assists and Utah improved to 25-3 at home.
The Jazz were coming off a 111-100 loss at Minnesota the night before and facing the team with the second-best record in the NBA. Detroit had opened its four-game western road trip with wins at Phoenix and Denver and looked to be adding Utah to the list.
Then, the Pistons stopped cold.
"We're a veteran team. That shouldn't happen to us," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "You have to understand why you got up like that."
Utah outscored Detroit 61-42 in the second half, holding the Pistons scoreless for a 4-minute stretch in the third quarter.
"We started competing. We didn't compete in the first part of the ballgame," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
The Pistons took more than twice as many free throws, including one on a technical called on Sloan in the fourth quarter, but still couldn't hold off the Jazz. Detroit went 27-for-35 from the line while Utah went 14-for-17.
The Jazz outscored the Pistons 25-18 in the third quarter, going on a 15-2 run late to cut the lead to two points.
Billups put the Pistons up 67-52 on a layup with 5:19 left in the third and Detroit didn't get another field goal until Hamilton's fadeaway with 5:28 left to play. The Pistons scored only on free throws during the shooting drought and Utah capitalized.
Millsap scored 12 of Utah's 18 points during one stretch, finished 7-for-10 from the line and got a standing ovation when he came off the court for Boozer.
"That's how you feel when you get your fans behind you. We kind of let them down in the first half, by not coming out with energy," Millsap said. "Second half we came out and showed them how we can play."
Millsap scored the first four points of the fourth, then gave the Jazz their first lead on a 19-foot jumper with 8:24 left to play.
Okur hit a 3-pointer with 2:41 left to play, but Hamilton answered his former teammate with another 3 to tie it. Williams hit two free throws to put Utah ahead again with 1:27 left, then after a miss by Rasheed Wallace, Okur hit another 3 and it was all but over.
"We rode 'Sheed down the stretch. He was scoring, giving us everything he wanted but on the other end we were trading twos for threes," Billups said. "Mehmet got hot and they won the game."
Wallace scored 11 points and Antonio McDyess had 10 rebounds for Detroit.
- Utah coach Sloan was called for a technical with 7:45 after Williams drove for a layup that was blocked by Wallace. Matt Harpring was called for a foul on the rebound and Sloan erupted.
- Detroit went scoreless from Jason Maxiell's two free throws with 4:03 left in the third until Billups was fouled with 2.7 seconds left.
- The Pistons were 4-for-16 on 3-pointers.
- Okur was 10-for-18 and Boozer went 9-for-17.