SALT LAKE CITY -- When Rodney Hood feels confident in his shot, there's nothing that can stop him from letting it fly and lighting up the scoreboard. After a prolonged shooting slump, Hood has finally found the magic touch from the perimeter again. It has made Utah that much more dangerous to opponents. Hood scored a season-high 27 points, while going 7-of-8 from 3-point range, to fuel a 110-77 Jazz victory over Detroit on Friday night. A shooting slump plagued Hood through Utah's first five games in January. He went 4-of-21 from the perimeter in that stretch. An end to the slump took root when the Jazz beat Cleveland earlier in the week. Hood made some critical baskets down the stretch to start on the path to returning to his old self. "I got some confidence, last game, back in my shot and this game I just came out firing and came out aggressive," Hood said. Once he got going, the Pistons couldn't stop him. Or anyone else for that matter. George Hill added 22 points and Gordon Hayward chipped in 20 to lead the Jazz. Hood, Hill and Hayward combined to shoot 26-of-39 (66.7 percent) from the field and 15-of-21 (71.4 percent) from the perimeter. Utah (25-16) won for the third time in four games and snapped a two-game losing streak in the series with Detroit. The Jazz dominated the glass, finishing with a 48-35 edge in rebounds. They also recorded 22 assists on 43 baskets. Tobias Harris scored 13 points, Marcus Morris added 11 and Andre Drummond chipped in nine points and 19 rebounds for the Pistons. Detroit (18-24) dropped its third straight game and gave up at least 100 points for the eighth time in their last nine games. "We can't stop anybody," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We just can't. For the first in 21 games, we were the second-best defensive team in the league and now we are one of the worst. I'm frustrated, not with my players. I'm frustrated with myself that I can't figure this out. I mean, we can't literally stop anyone, ever." Utah opened the game with a 10-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Hood and Hill. The Jazz did not stay in front for long. They missed 13 of 15 shots over the final eight minutes of the quarter, and shot just 6-of-24 (25 percent) through the first quarter. It opened the door for the Pistons to rally. Detroit answered Utah with a 15-2 run of its own, featuring a go-ahead dunk from Andre Drummond, and took a 15-12 lead with 2:57 remaining in the first quarter. Harris hit a pair of baskets and made a pair of free throws to key the rally. Utah snapped out of its funk early in the second quarter behind hot shooting from Hood. He scored a pair of 3-pointers and a go-ahead mid-range jumper to fuel a 10-2 run that put the Jazz ahead 24-23. Hood didn't hesitate to put the offense on his shoulders at a critical moment and it helped erase all traces of his earlier shooting slump. "I knew it was going to start falling and I was going to get in a rhythm, so I just came out firing right away tonight," Hood said. "My teammates told me to keep shooting. The coaches as well. They went in tonight." Detroit and Utah traded baskets before the Jazz sneaked ahead again on a 9-0 run to take a 45-40 lead with 31.8 seconds left in the half. Utah surged ahead on back-to-back dunks from Hood and Hayward. Then Hayward capped off the run with a corner 3-pointer. Utah kept attacking and extending the lead in the third quarter. The Jazz went up double digits again when Hayward chased down a loose ball in the backcourt and fed Hill for a wide-open 3-pointer. That sequence offered the biggest highlight in a 17-4 run. Hayward finished off the run by converting a 3-point play to give Utah a 67-51 lead. "We got to defend," Pistons guard Reggie Jackson said. "We got to make someone miss. I don't know what it is. We do it for about a total of half a game -- whether it be the first, third, or be the middle of the first, middle of the third, half the fourth. We're just not playing together for 48 (minutes). It's really coming back to bite us each and every night." The Jazz buried Detroit for good in the fourth quarter. Utah led by as much as 31 points, going up 103-72 with 4:03 left after a Hill 3-pointer capped a 25-6 Jazz run. Utah allowed just 34 total points in the second half and earned the team's most lopsided victory of the season. Detroit shot just 6-of-18 from the field in the fourth quarter -- even while allowing the Jazz to connect on 12-of-20 shots. "That's our identity," Hood said. "That's how we're going to be the team we want to be. We got to defend. It makes offense so much easier when we're making it harder for other people." NOTES: Pistons G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did not play after suffering a left rotator cuff strain on Thursday at Golden State. An MRI did not reveal any significant damage, but there is no timetable for his return. Detroit F Jon Leuer (sore right knee) missed his third straight game. ... Jazz C Rudy Gobert shot 77.8 percent from the field in December, the highest monthly percentage by any NBA player (minimum 60 attempts) since Wilt Chamberlain shot 78.0 percent in March, 1973. Gobert averaged 14.3 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks through December. ... Detroit averages just 12.1 turnovers per game, which is the second least amount of turnovers among NBA teams. ... Utah has held opponents to 90 points or less 16 times this season. The Jazz currently lead the NBA in scoring defense (94.9), opponent field-goal percentage (.429) and opponent 3-pointers per game (8.1).
Jazz run away from Pistons
The Sports Xchange | Jan 14