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Burke's return to Michigan leads Jazz to rout over Pistons

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The Canadian Press
1/17/2014 10:10:17 PM
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- When Trey Burke took the floor shortly before tip-off, he was the only Utah player to come out of the tunnel at first.

Burke's teammates stayed behind, playing a little joke on the rookie point guard by leaving him alone on the court for a few seconds before eventually joining him.

"I was mad at the guys, because that was embarrassing, but they do little things like that to me once in a while," Burke said.

Burke should have expected a prank like that, because this was his return to Michigan -- and for the most part, it was an enjoyable one. He had 20 points and a career-high 12 assists, leading the Jazz to a 110-89 rout of the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Burke, who was the national player of the year at Michigan last season and led the Wolverines to the Final Four, had plenty of supporters in the crowd at the Palace. He shook off a slow start and outplayed Detroit counterpart Brandon Jennings as the Jazz built a big lead.

"That felt good. We had a lot of fun out there," Burke said. "I'm not even going to lie. I was nervous at the start, and I had to get my nerves calmed down. My family was here, and all the people who have supported me in Michigan, and I knew this was my only chance to play in front of them this year."

Enes Kanter added 18 points for Utah and Marvin Williams scored 17. Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 21, but Detroit looked flat for much of the game after a five-day layoff.

"We worked real hard this week, and put a good effort in this week," Detroit centre Andre Drummond said. "To come out like we did tonight, we took a step back."

The Pistons had a chance to draft Burke with the No. 8 pick last year, but took Kentavious Caldwell-Pope instead.

Burke signed autographs before the game, and when his Utah teammates left him alone on the court, it gave the crowd a chance to give the young point guard a cheer.

Burke got another ovation when he was announced with the Utah starters, and the Jazz opened the scoring when he made a clever pass to Derrick Favors for a dunk.

The crowd at the Palace was announced at 18,528, and there was plenty of maize and blue around. Burke didn't score until the second quarter, when his 3-pointer put the Jazz up 44-37.

A steal and a layup by Burke made it 50-42, and there were some boos for the home team when Utah took a 58-45 lead into halftime.

The second half didn't start any better for Detroit. The Jazz scored the first eight points of the third quarter and led 66-45 after a dunk by Favours.

"It was unexplainable to me," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Maybe the days off affected us in terms of getting up and down the floor."

Burke had nine points and five assists in the third, capping the quarter with a driving floater off the glass in the final seconds for an 89-65 lead.

"He looked tight early on, and I decided to play him a longer stretch than a shorter one to let him play himself into a rhythm. He was throwing great passes, and that got him into the offence," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "You always root for guys who are playing at home. He wanted to show the fans how much he has developed his game, and he did that."

Utah's lead reached 29 in the fourth. Detroit's vaunted front line of Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith combined for only 18 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Smith and Monroe made only one field goal each.

Detroit passed up a chance to draft Burke, the local favourite, and instead the Pistons addressed the point-guard spot by trading for Jennings, who has impressed at times but been inconsistent. He scored 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting Friday.

Burke turned the ball over seven times, but he surpassed his previous career high in assists with a pass to a cutting Jeremy Evans in the fourth quarter for a 98-72 lead. Burke had 11 assists against San Antonio on Wednesday.

NOTES: Utah went 9 of 22 from 3-point range and played the Pistons to a 44-all tie in the paint. ... Kyle Singler scored 13 points for the Pistons. Drummond had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Trey Burke  (Photo: Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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