The Utah Jazz are making things look easy on their homestand as they slowly work their way back up the standings in the Western Conference. The Jazz will try to ride sizzling guard Donovan Mitchell to a four-game sweep of the homestand when they host the Detroit Pistons on Monday.
Utah knocked off the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls by an average of 13 points and Mitchell averaged 33.3 points in the victories. "Mentally and physically, I think we're really tough," Mitchell told reporters after scoring 34 points on the second night of a back-to-back to lead the Jazz past the Chicago Bulls 110-102 on Saturday. "It just shows our character, and we're willing to compete, willing to fight, even with the odds really stacked against us. When our back's against the wall, I think that's when we really play our best." The Pistons snapped a four-game slide with a 109-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday as star forward Blake Griffin scored 44 points against his former team. "It was nice to get that game over with," Griffin told reporters. "I kind of compare it to the first game of the year in a way. There's such a big hype leading up to it, and then once it's done, you have to play 81 more. Now we have to play 41 more or whatever it is. It's over, and I'm moving on, they're moving on."
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FS Detroit, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (Utah) LINE: Jazz -8
ABOUT THE PISTONS (18-23): Griffin went 13-of-23 from the floor and added eight rebounds and five assists to his totals on Saturday, with several of those assists going to shooting guard Reggie Bullock. "When he's got it going like that on offense, it's tough for teams," Bullock told reporters of Griffin. "They have to make an adjustment on the defensive end. They have to start doubling him. Once they double, it's my time to shine." Bullock knocked down 5-of-10 from beyond the arc en route to 17 points while Andre Drummond collected 20 points and 21 rebounds in the victory.
ABOUT THE JAZZ (23-21): Utah is operating without a true point guard with Ricky Rubio (groin), Dante Exum (ankle) and Raul Neto (groin) out and everyone is chipping in to pick up the slack. Center Rudy Gobert led the team with eight assists on Saturday while Mitchell handed out six. "We've got toughness. We've got chemistry," veteran guard Kyle Korver told reporters. "It's hard to play basketball without a point guard - it's an important position. But a bunch of guys have stepped up. It wasn't pretty the whole time tonight but winning the second game of a back-to-back is always big, so we'll take it and keep going."
1. Jazz PF Jae Crowder is 3-of-24 from the floor over the last two games.
2. Drummond's effort on Saturday marked his seventh game this season with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds but first since Nov. 23.
3. Utah earned a 110-105 win at Detroit on Jan. 5 behind 26 points from Mitchell.
PREDICTION: Jazz 109, Pistons 101 Bet Now
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