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Published: Thursday, 3/11/2010

Williams leads high-scoring Jazz over Pistons

ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Most NBA coaches would be thrilled by their team scoring 247 points in two nights, especially in consecutive road victories.

Jerry Sloan, though, wasn't impressed.

A night after putting up 132 points in a rout of Chicago, Sloan's Utah Jazz put on another offensive show, beating the Detroit Pistons 115-104 on Wednesday.

But the coach wasn't happy with the defense.

“I'm not focused on our scoring, I'm worried about our defense,” Sloan said. “It's a matter of concentration, and there's no excuse for losing focus like we did in the second half tonight.”

Utah was never seriously threatened after outscoring the Pistons 35-14 in the second quarter, despite allowing 61 second-half points.

“I thought we played awfully well in the second quarter, but they put us back on our heels in the second half,” Sloan said. “I had to make some substitutions because we had people trying to get cute instead of just winning the game.”

Deron Williams, who is 9-0 in his career against Detroit, led seven Utah players in double figures with 18 points and 12 assists.

“I've never lost to them? I guess I'll have to keep that going,” Williams said. “We always play well in this building, and I thought we played well tonight, but if you look at the boxscore, they outscored us in every quarter but the second. Our defense still isn't where we need it to be.”

Former Pistons center Mehmet Okur finished with 18 points, and Carlos Boozer had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Detroit also had seven players score at least 10 points, led by Charlie Villanueva's 19, but couldn't avoid its seventh loss in eight games.

“It's tough to take anything positive out of a game you lose,” Villanueva said. “We just can't dig ourselves into a hole like that.”

The Pistons led 29-28 after the first quarter, but the Jazz began the second with a 14-0 run and led 63-43 at the half. Utah outshot Detroit 59 percent to 39 percent in the half, and had 20 assists against just four turnovers.

“The second quarter was great — that was a flawless quarter,” Williams said. “We got a lot of stops, we shared the ball, and we got out and ran in transition.”

Detroit narrowed the gap to 85-74 late in the third, but could never string together enough stops to get Utah's lead to single digits.

“You go up 29-28 after the first quarter, and then they go on a 14-0 run, and within four or five minutes, you are working uphill just to get close,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “We don't have a large margin for error right now, especially against an outstanding team.”

Utah, which has beaten the Pistons 10 straight times, reached triple digits on Kyle Korver's 3-pointer with 8:18 to play. By the time the Jazz finished off the victory, one of the smallest Palace crowds in recent history had dwindled.

NOTES: Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey was cleared to resume exercising, less than a week after collapsing on the Detroit bench and being taken out of the arena on a stretcher. Stuckey was tested by three cardiologists, who found no heart problems. He said before the game that he hopes to play again this season. ... Ben Wallace missed his fourth straight game with a right knee strain. ... The Pistons announced an attendance of 16,908, but the actual crowd appeared to be much smaller.



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