SALT LAKE CITY — In the pivotal third quarter Saturday, the Utah Jazz held the Detroit Pistons to 11 points on 5-for-16 shooting. Utah forced five turnovers that quarter while outscoring the home team by 14 en route to the 90-87 comeback win at The Palace.
"We were aggressive," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said, "and our offense generated from there."
Tell the Pistons about it.
Utah's extra feisty and physical defense was a popular topic in the Pistons locker room, according to the Detroit News. Beat writer Vincent Goodwill described the Jazz as using "physical play (that) bordered on early-90's assault as they mucked up the game, preventing the Pistons from doing virtually anything on the offensive end."
Forward Jason Maxiell: "They took advantage and hit us and we didn't fight back, got us into a hole."
Guard Brandon Knight: "They punched us in the face and there was nothing we could do about it. "Instead of fighting back, we just kind of laid down a little bit."
Detroit coach Lawrence Frank's description is probably music to the Jazz's ears.
"I thought we started to play some frustration basketball offensively," he said. "With Utah, if you're not the instigator, you're gonna have a hard time. That's their culture."
The Jazz will take that as a compliment, no doubt.
Power bruiser Paul Millsap credited the Jazz for playing harder in the second half after they'd fallen behind by 15.
No soul-stirring speeches were required at halftime, either.
"We didn't have to say too much. We knew how we played in that first half was unacceptable," Millsap said. "The second half everybody got involved, everybody got that focus we needed to get over that hump."
The Pistons were also upset their head coach was called for a technical for rushing onto the court during action on the opposite end. Detroit thought DeMarre Carroll should've been called for a foul on Knight's game-tying 3-point attempt, too.
Ironically, Foye pointed out the Pistons' physicality in the final three minutes as being critical in Detroit going on that game-ending 12-2 run that made things oh-so interesting down the stretch.
"You understand what they're doing at the end. You know the refs are letting things go," Foye said. "(Detroit guard) Will Bynum is a real strong guy who puts his hands on you, grabs you. You know what it is, especially when they're on their home floor."
And Bynum's parting thoughts?
"I got nothing to say," he told the Detroit News while brushing off an interview attempt. "Both teams played hard."
LESSONS LEARNED?: The Jazz got multiple chances Saturday to learn a lesson their coach hoped they'd absorb in the wake of Friday's flop in Atlanta.
"We thought we learned earlier in situations like this where you're up and how you have to play 48 minutes," Corbin said Friday after his team fell for the fourth time after blowing a double-digit lead. "You can't afford to relax, especially on the road."
A night after coughing up a 15-point lead to the Hawks, the Jazz relaxed from the tipoff in Detroit and fell behind by the same amount to the Pistons.
Utah snapped out of it to go ahead by 13, but then they unlearned the lesson they'd just learned before escaping with a 90-87 win at the Palace.
This is a common pattern for this team over the course of the first half of the 2012-13 season.
The Jazz have fallen behind by 10 or more points only to come back and win an NBA-high 10 times this season.
But Utah has trailed by double-digit deficits in 24 of 39 games so far, losing 14 times in those relaxing situations.
"Forty-eight minutes is the key," Jazz guard Randy Foye said. "We're still a team, just growing. We're trying to get better every single day. But the main thing is just understanding and learning from your mistakes. And I think from last night (Friday) to tonight (Saturday), we learned from our mistakes."
Foye admitted the Jazz "made some mistake" in the late-game collapse in Detroit in which Utah had four turnovers in the final two minutes, including three by him. They also got complacent in their offense and missed a couple of late free throws.
"We'll take the win," he said, "and we'll learn from the mistakes with the win."
LET ME PLAY: When the third quarter ended Saturday, Jazz center Al Jefferson rushed over to Corbin to plead with his coach. He'd just scored 10 points in the period, leading Utah to a four-point lead after previously trailing by 15, and he didn't want to head to the bench to start the fourth.
"I told him, 'We've got to win this game. I'm good. I'm good. Let me stay in,'" Jefferson explained. "He agreed with me. Even when he took me out in the middle of the fourth I didn't want to come out, but I knew I needed to."
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