In the duration of a long NBA season, there are many turning points.

The players in the locker room steadfastly believed their double-overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks the day after Christmas was a gift not even Santa could provide.

Despite the loss, Charlie Villanueva said they were encouraged at the possibilities of unlocking a crucial part of their development instead of dejected that another close game slipped through their fingers.

The second unit's offensive potency had been discovered, albeit in the face of desperation.

"It was a wakeup call for us," Villanueva said. "It woke us up in the way that 'we can win games.' It showed what we're capable of doing when we're playing together as a team. Even though it was a loss, we built on it."

If Pistons coach Lawrence Frank's statement about there being multiple turning points for this team is true, then their recent 90-87 loss to the Utah Jazz could serve as another.

Entering Saturday, the Pistons were averaging more than 100 points during this 7-3 stretch, but the Jazz, perhaps sensing they were about to be another victim to a balanced Pistons offense, used said balance against them — in the form of physicality.

Al Jefferson manhandled everybody in front of him, and was aided by Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors. Even Pistons rookie Andre Drummond found himself on the floor more than once when Jefferson schooled him on the way to the basket — a rookie moment for sure.

Since the Pistons had been relying on ball movement and getting into a rhythm, their opponent's answer was clear — disrupt the rhythm by making the game as ugly as possible and the Pistons were unable to counter until it was too late.

A comfortable lead got uncomfortable quickly — and it was evident from anyone who watched.

"We started to play frustration basketball, they started to get some confidence," Frank said. "The ball movement we had in the first quarter, we didn't have (afterward)."

From The Detroit News: