Richard Hamilton scored 15 points and the Pistons overcome
0-for-15 shooting in the fourth quarter to beat the Jazz 64-62
"It's a miracle," Pistons coach Larry Brown said. "We didn't
get anything accomplished against their zone, but we luck out and
win the game."
The futility wasn't limited to the Pistons, however. It was the
lowest scoring game for each franchise, and the teams combined for
an NBA-record 18 points in the final period, beating the 19 points
by Miami and Toronto in the fourth quarter on Feb. 2, 2004.
"That's as ugly as it can get, but our defense held on long
enough to win the game," said Detroit's Chauncey Billups, who
scored just one point in the second half. "It was like a lid was
on the basket. We got some good looks -- we got some great looks --
we just couldn't knock them down."
Brown announced after the game that he will have surgery on
Monday and miss an undetermined amount of time. Brown's procedure
is related to the hip surgery that caused him to miss six games in
Detroit led 58-50 at the start of the fourth quarter, and its
six free throws were enough to hold off the Jazz. Utah shot
4-for-20 in the fourth.
"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot, especially late in the
game," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "That's just the way it goes
Sloan is still one win shy of tying Hall of Fame coach Red Auerbach for sixth all-time in NBA regular season coaching victories. Auerbach won 938 games in 20 seasons, most of them with the Boston Celtics.
Utah was within a point for the final two minutes, but Ben
Wallace blocked a shot by Andrei Kirilenko, and after Billups made
one of two free throws, Howard Eisley missed a potential tying
jumper at the buzzer.
The teams' 126 total points ranks as the sixth-lowest scoring
game in NBA history. The league low for combined scoring is 119
points by Boston (62) and Milwaukee (57), at Providence, R.I., on
Feb. 27, 1955.
Both teams had 127-point games -- Detroit in a 74-53 win over
Denver in 2002, and Utah in a 71-56 loss to Seattle in 1999.
Kirilenko led all scorers with 27 points. Matt Harpring added 10
points and was the only other Utah player to score in double
"Andrei had a great game," Sloan said. "I think he is really
starting to step up and become the type of leader that we need."
Detroit led 38-29 at the half despite a 12-minute stretch in
which the Pistons managed just six points. Billups had 11 points
for Detroit, and Kirilenko scored 12 for the Jazz.
Utah opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run, closing within a
basket but never tying the score. Rasheed Wallace's 3-pointer with
2 seconds left gave the Pistons a 58-50 lead heading into the final
That's when the Detroit stepped up its defense, holding Utah
scoreless for the first 4:27 of the final period and extending its
lead to 11 points.
Utah got within 63-62 on Mehmet Okur's jumper with 2:07 to play,
but couldn't get a go-ahead basket. After Ben Wallace's block,
Billups hit one of two free throws to make it 64-62 with 2.6
The referees reviewed Billups' buzzer-beating shot at the
end of the first quarter. The officials confirmed that the replay
showed that Hamilton's inbound pass landed on the line before it
got to Billups, but they are not allowed to overturn a call for
that reason, so the basket stood. ... Okur, a member of last year's
championship team, received an ovation from the crowd before the
game. ... Okur was called for a flagrant foul on McDyess, the man
who replaced him in the Pistons' rotation, in the fourth quarter.
... Neither team had a field goal in the first 5:49 of the fourth
quarter. The teams missed a combined 17 straight shots.