Pistons at Jazz preview
The Pistons have not won in Utah since Nov. 6, 2002 and have lost 17 of their last 19 in Salt Lake City. Overall Utah has won eight of the last nine meetings. Detroit’s last win was back on March 13, 2005.
Point guard Deron Williams (20.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 9.8 assists) does it all for the Jazz and is one of the premier point guards in the league. Utah also features a solid frontcourt in power forward Carlos Boozer (18 points, 11.4 rebounds) and Mehmet Okur (14.3 points, 6.8 rebounds). Okur has missed Utah’s last two games with an illness.
Wes Matthews (7.3 points) has started Utah’s last four games, with Andrei Kirilenko (14.0 points, 5.2 rebounds) coming off the bench. The lineup has seemed to work as the Jazz have won three of their last four.
Ronnie Brewer (11.6 points) starts at shooting guard and Paul Millsap (9.4 points, 6.1 rebounds) is a solid frontcourt player off the bench.
Key matchup — Detroit’s Charlie Villanueva vs. Utah’s Carlos Boozer: The matchup between Rodney Stuckey and Deron Williams will be huge, but the key matchup for Detroit will likely be between Villanueva and Boozer. Villanueva has struggled at times during the Pistons three-game losing streak and is averaging 11.7 points in his last three, after averaging 23.7 points during the Pistons three-game win streak last week. The Pistons need Villanueva to be a more consistent scoring threat in the frontcourt.
Utah is a dangerous team when Boozer is playing well and are 5-1 this season when Boozer scores 20 or more and 1-5 when he doesn’t. Boozer has nine double-doubles this season so keeping him off the boards will have to be a priority for Villanueva.
The skinny — Detroit does not want to go winless on this West Coast swing and winning at Phoenix on Sunday won’t be an easy task, so this could be the game the Pistons have to get.
Detroit has made two inspiring comebacks in its last two games, but both came up short, the first at Los Angeles (Lakers) and the last one at Portland. The Pistons need to come out with the type of intensity they’ve showed in the comebacks to start the game against Utah.
Leading scorer Ben Gordon (21.1 points ) is shooing 27.9 percent from the field during the Pistons three-game losing streak, after staring out the season shooting 49 percent. Detroit needs Gordon to find his shot again.
Detroit’s bench players like Austin Daye and Jason Maxiell have played well in the last two games and the Pistons could use another consistent offensive threat off the bench besides just Will Bynum.
Prediction: Pistons 101, Jazz 97*; Pemberton's record 7-5
*Predicting the Pistons to win on a hunch, Detroit has to win one in Utah sooner or later.