The Jazz won’t be alone in history’s basement.
A victory Saturday gave them 23 wins, matching the total for the 1974-75 New Orleans Jazz, who were stumbling through their first season as a franchise.
But if this year’s team plays like it did Monday, getting to No. 24 won’t be an easy task.
“One of the things we talk about is each game is different and you can’t live off another game,” said Jazz coach Ty Corbin, after his team had followed up Saturday’s thrilling win with a 114-94 drubbing at the hands of the Detroit Pistons. “We came out right from the beginning like we were running in mud. I don’t know if we were thinking about the other night or what, but we gotta put a lot more energy than we showed tonight.”
The loss was a microcosm of the Jazz’s season. Utah found itself in an early hole and didn’t have the time or talent to climb back out. The Pistons never trailed, building up a 20-point lead before the first half had ended.
As they have plenty of times throughout the year, the Jazz showed spurts of fight, cutting the deficit to 12 on a Gordon Hayward 3-pointer with three minutes left in the third. But for each push, the Pistons countered with a punch.
Hayward put up 32 points to go along with six assists and two rebounds, but would have traded it for victory.
“It’s disappointing it came on a loss,” he said. “You’d rather win than have 30 any day of the week. It was just a disappointing team effort on our part.”
Andre Drummond had 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Detroit. Guard Rodney Stuckey chipped in 19 off the bench as the Pistons beat the Jazz in Utah for the first time in more than a decade.
The Pistons aren’t anyone’s idea of dominance. The franchise fired its head coach midseason and is out of the playoff picture in the East. Monday was just Detroit’s 26th win of the year
But against the Jazz, Detroit saw little resistance.
The Pistons shot 55.4 percent from the field, while the Jazz hit on only 41 percent of their shots. Detroit dominated the glass, outrebounding Utah 53-33.
“Guys are putting forth the effort,” said forward Richard Jefferson, who was one of five Jazz players in double-figures. “It’s not an excuse, but we’re starting a rookie point guard; we’re starting guys who have never played these types of minutes. There are going to be nights that are flat. It sucks, but it’s the truth of the situation.”
He added, “When you’re playing a lot of young guys [heavy] minutes … toward the end they start to get tired mentally, physically, emotionally. We’re showing every sign of that.”
The Jazz have 11 games left, beginning with a Wednesday matchup against Memphis.
“We’re going to be able to see who’s really out there competing,” Hayward said of a stretch run that will only end in a high lottery pick, “and this wasn’t a good start for us.”