SALT LAKE CITY — Losers of 15 of their last 18 games, the Detroit Pistons came into Monday night’s game at Utah as only the 17th-best shooting team in the NBA with a season best of 54 percent.
However, against the Jazz’s matador defense, the Pistons suddenly looked like one of the best shooting teams on the planet.
The Pistons shot a season-best 55.4 percent from the field and were also 52.3 percent from 3-point range in handing the Jazz their worst home loss of the season.
It’s not like the Jazz are a great defending team or anything. They came into the game tied for 28th in the league — second to last, along with lowly Philadelphia — in field goal percentage defense at 46.9.
They gave up 63.5 percent against Miami in December, but this was no Heat squad the Jazz were playing Monday night.
The Pistons had lost five straight and were just above the Jazz in the NBA standings this year with only two more wins. Plus, they lost to the Jazz by 21 points back in January.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin put it best in saying the Jazz looked like they were “running in mud” right from the start.
“They played well, but 55 percent from the field — I think they were 61 percent at halftime — they got their confidence going,’’ he said. “It’s difficult when teams get going like this.’’
Corbin is a little testy when his team doesn’t play well on defense, perhaps because that was supposed to be a point of emphasis this season. When asked about the defense, or lack thereof, he paused about three seconds before saying, “They got open — I thought they outworked us.’’
Jazz forward Marvin Williams said the Pistons shot the ball well, but it was also his team’s fault on the defensive side.
“It was lack of energy on our part and great shooting on their part,’’ he said. “I felt like we were just a step slow tonight. Give Detroit a lot of credit. They made shots and they made plays, but we could have definitely played with more energy and effort on the defensive end.’’
The game was basically over in the first half when the Pistons shot 61 percent on 25 of 41 from the field and cruised to a 60-40 halftime lead. Pistons players were left wide open in the corner for 3-pointers. They were left wide open under the basket for layups. And they were allowed to get rebound baskets.
“They got 3-point shots, they got drives to the basket — they got too much of what they wanted,’’ he said. “We need to play with a sense of purpose and energy on both ends of the floor, and we didn’t do that right from the beginning of the game.’’
For the Jazz, it’s been a bad month on the defensive end. Going into Monday night, they had allowed opponents to shoot 50.3 percent from the field during the month of March after allowing 45.2 and 45.3 percent the previous two months. That percentage will clearly go up after allowing 55.4 percent Monday.