DETROIT — With 4.5 ticks left in regulation, Ricky Rubio delivered a pinpoint inbound pass to a cutting Joe Ingles for a game-tying layup, 89-89.
Then in overtime, Ingles nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Jazz hand the Detroit Pistons their sixth consecutive loss, 98-95, at Little Caesars Arena Wednesday.
Even after his 13-point, seven-assist, two-steal night, the Jazz’s late-game hero refused to make himself available to the media for questions.
So his teammates spoke for him.
“Joe Ingles big time,” Jazz forward Derrick Favors said, smiling. “That’s what he gets paid all that money for to hit the big shots.”
But more so than the big shots, Utah possessed a different grit on the other side of the ball, holding Detroit to just 39.2 percent shooting, 22.6 percent from beyond the arc and 66.7 percent from the free throw line.
“I think we got stops defensively,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “We were down there late and were able to string together some stops. Joe Ingles hit some great shots."
Following Monday’s uninspiring loss to the Atlanta Hawks, 104-90, Utah possessed a different fight down the stretch. Even after the Pistons pulled ahead by nine in the fourth, behind Andre Drummond’s monstrous performance — and after Rubio went out briefly from an inadvertent elbow from Anthony Tolliver over his left eye.
The Jazz just kept fighting.
Whether it was Rudy Gobert contesting crucial shots in the end or just an overall team commitment to defense, guys wouldn’t quit.
“We just tried to keep it up for 48 minutes,” Gobert said. “We know that if we want to win we have to do that.”
Gobert and Favors drew the difficult matchup of guarding Drummond. The duo combined for seven blocked shots as Favors posted eight points with 10 boards and Gobert logged 15 points and eight rebounds.
Since his return from knee injury, Gobert has made three or more swats in four straight games.
Drummond did go off for a season-high 30 points, 24 rebounds, six blocks, three steals and four assists with five turnovers. He became the first player with that stat line in the same game since 1973-74, just a day after being snubbed from the All-Star team.
“I feel badly for him, but there are a lot of qualified people in both conferences,” said Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. “Everybody who is ‘deserving’ of being an All-Star is not going to make it. It’s hard.”
Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell learned he will compete in the Rising Stars Challenge today and posted 15 points and five assists on 6-for-21 shooting. He did nail a 3 in the extra period to help the Jazz improve to 2-0 on the season in overtime as Utah closed out 9-6, forcing two turnovers, in the final five minutes.
“I give their defense a lot of credit there, and they’re a great defensive team that forces a lot of turnovers every night,” Van Gundy said. “I’m not trying to make excuses for our guys, you can’t have 20 turnovers and, that was a huge part of the game, but let’s not take away all the credit from them.”
The Jazz (20-28) will try to put together their first win streak since early December in a road game against Toronto on Friday.
“Yeah, we needed a win was the mindset,” Favors said. “We needed to play with some energy, get a win, and improve on our road record. I think all the guys in here felt that and went out there and got a win.”