|Reeling Pistons look to regain confidence against Jazz|
The Detroit Pistons seemed like one of the NBA's most improved teams during the early going. Since New Year's Day, the Pistons have played like a team bound for the lottery again.
They have dropped eight of their last 10 games and enter Wednesday's home matchup against the Utah Jazz with a five-game losing streak. The Brooklyn Nets handed them a 101-100 defeat in their last outing on a last-second bucket by ex-Piston Spencer Dinwiddie.
Andre Drummond's layup moments earlier gave Detroit its only lead of the half. Opponents have shot at least 46 percent from the field in all but one of those losses.
"I wasn't happy with our disposition early on. I don't what's with us right now," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We're not playing hard enough, consistently enough. We played hard at times. I thought we fought our way back and really gave it a good fight for being down 15, but we're not consistent enough at the defensive end and that, I don't understand."
The Pistons haven't been the same team since starting point guard Reggie Jackson suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain in late December. They have fallen one game below .500 after going 14-6 through their first 20 games.
Leading scorer Tobias Harris admits the team's confidence is shaken.
"We're not playing off of instincts, how we used to play," he said. "Now, we're playing off a little bit of doubt. It's never a good formula for winning. We've got to find some way to get it back."
Drummond and Avery Bradley will be looking to bounce back offensively after subpar outings. Both starters scored seven points against Brooklyn.
The Jazz have gone through a similar experience this season. They were 13-11 early in December but have fallen to 19-28 after a 104-90 road loss to Atlanta on Monday. The Hawks outscored them 62-49 after halftime.
"I don't think there's excuses the way that we broke down defensively," coach Quin Snyder told the Salt Lake Tribune and other media outlets. "It continued through substitutions. Collectively we weren't good. I didn't think we had a very strong resolve or will."
The starting unit was held to 40 points and made 15 turnovers against the lottery-bound Hawks.
"There were times where we kind of looked like we didn't want to play, myself included," rookie guard Donovan Mitchell told the Tribune. "That's not us. That's not our identity. I think we've just got to come out with more life and more energy. I think if we play like we played here, there will be a lot of nights like this."
The Pistons will get their first look at Mitchell, who leads the Jazz in scoring at 19.2 points per game. He had a poor outing against Atlanta, scoring 13 points while committing six turnovers.
Second-leading scorer Rodney Hood (16.7 points) is expected to miss his third consecutive game with a lower leg injury. Detroit could be without part-time starter Reggie Bullock, who suffered a thumb injury against the Nets.
Detroit plays at Utah on March 13.