Jefferson helps Jazz rally past Pistons 90-87
Al Jefferson scored 10 of his 20 points in the third quarter, and the Utah Jazz rallied to beat the Detroit Pistons 90-87 on Saturday night.
Detroit's Brandon Knight missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds that would have tied the game after the Pistons trailed by 13 points with 3:26 left.
Jefferson helped the Jazz outscore Detroit 25-11 in the third, powering them to their first lead after trailing by as many as 15 points.
Utah also put together a 17-3 run after Austin Daye's 3-pointer with 8:38 left gave the Pistons the lead for the last time.
There was one comeback left, and it came up just short.
Detroit outscored the Jazz 12-1 and had a shot to send the game into overtime, but Knight was very short on a contested shot just before the buzzer. Knight and Pistons coaches lobbied for a foul, but didn't get what they wanted.
The Jazz (20-19) avoided falling under .500 and into a last-place tie with Minnesota in the Northwest Division.
Detroit had won seven of their last nine games.
Knight had 16 points and Greg Monroe scored 12 for the Pistons, who got a late lift from reserve Will Bynum, who scored 13 points.
Utah's Paul Millsap and Randy Foye each scored 17 and reserve Alec Burks had 12 points.
The Pistons got off to a fast start, leading 11-2 early in the game and 26-13 after the first quarter. Knight and Monroe combined for 18 points in the opening period, but the Jazz prevented them from having much success on offense the rest of the game.
Detroit had a 15-point lead in the second quarter and was ahead 50-39 at halftime.
The Jazz blew a 15-point lead in their last game, losing 103-95 at Atlanta. They proved for a second straight night that such a cushion isn't comfortable in the NBA.
Utah guard Randy Foye capped a 15-2 run with a tying 3-pointer with 4:01 left in the third quarter. Jefferson's jumper a couple minutes later gave the Jazz their first lead of the game, and they went into the fourth quarter ahead 64-61.
NOTES: Pistons coach Lawrence Frank was called for a technical foul after Detroit tied it early in the fourth quarter and seemed stunned by the call made by official Scott Wall, shouting: "Scott! That's a gift! A gift!" Gordon Hayward made the ensuing free throw with 10:05 left in the game, giving the Jazz a 69-68 lead. Utah's Marvin Williams missed his third straight game with a right knee injury and is expected to be evaluated on Sunday.