The last three months have been nothing short of miserable for Detroit Pistons guard Jerry Stackhouse.
Not just because he has been struggling with his shot, but for a far more important reason the loss of his sister to diabetes, an illness that also afflicts both of his parents.
So one game-winning shot isn't going to make all the pain go away.
It will help, though.
Stackhouse made a 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime Sunday to give the Detroit Pistons an improbable 104-101 victory over the Utah Jazz.
"This has been rough dealing with the loss of a family member and struggling offensively," he said. "But everyone on the team has just been incredibly supportive, so it felt good to hit that shot and redeem myself a little bit."
Stackhouse finished with 32 points, while Grant Hill had his first triple-double of the season with 29 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Hill's final assist came after he was double-teamed along the baseline and fed Stackhouse for the game-winner.
Karl Malone led Utah with 31 points and 12 rebounds.
Utah lost a late lead for the second game in a row. On Friday night, the Jazz led Charlotte by eight with 3:03 left and lost in overtime.
"We've done that more than twice this season, so it is a habit we need to get out of," said Jeff Hornacek. "We've won a lot of those games, where the same thing happened and we hung on to win. These last two just snuck up on us."
The Jazz led by 20 points in the first half and still were up 16 at the beginning of the fourth, but couldn't put the Pistons away.
"Just another routine win we had them all the way," joked Piston coach Alvin Gentry. "It was really strange. I never thought we were totally out of the game because we were doing everything wrong. I figured if we just started doing anything well, w could get back into it."
The score was 90-90 at the end of regulation, and Detroit started the extra period with a 6-1 run. Layups from Stockton and Malone pulled Utah within one, and that was still the margin after Jeff Hornacek made two free throws with 18 seconds left.
Stackhouse could only split a pair of free throws, and Stockton blew past Lindsey Hunter for a tying layup with 12 seconds to go.
Utah held Detroit to 31 percent shooting in the first half and held a commanding 49-33 lead at intermission. The Pistons, though, opened up the second half with a 10-0 run, getting themselves back into the game. Stackhouse had five points in the run, and Lindsey Hunter added a 3-pointer.
Detroit got as close as five, 54-49, but stopped running, and seven points from Stockton helped Utah move back out to a 76-60 lead after three quarters. The Pistons helped by missing five of their last seven free throws of the period.
Gentry, though, still wasn't giving up hope.
"I told the guys that 12 minutes is a lot of basketball, and we could still pull it out," he said. "We just had to remember that we weren't going to make it all up in five minutes. It was going to be a slow process that was going to take the whole period."
Detroit got right on the task, starting the period with an 8-0 run to pull to 76-68. The Pistons continued to miss free throws, at one point missing at least one on eight straight trips, but still trailed by just 81-75 with six minutes left.
Hunter hit a 3-pointer to tie the game with 3:09 to play, completing the comeback.
"They had to make the plays, but we're not finishing people," Stockton said. "Instead of playing with great intensity to finish the game, we are lacking concentration defensively and giving teams a chance to get the momentum."
Detroit had a chance to win in regulation, but Thurl Bailey blocked Hill's shot out of bounds with 6.8 seconds to go and Detroit couldn't get a shot off before the shot clock expired.
Jeff Hornacek lost Stackhouse on the ensuing inbounds pass, but his rushed 3-pointer bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Notes: Joe Dumars missed the second half, and will miss at least the upcoming two-game road trip, after reinjuring his left calf. Dumars missed a game last week after straining the calf. ... Dumars will be honored during Friday's game against Milwaukee as part of the Pistons' season-long tribute to the 1988-89 "Bad Boys" NBA champs. Dumars is the only player from that team still with the Pistons. ... Karl Malone passed Bill Russell for 9th place on the all-time NBA minutes played list. ... Utah center Greg Ostertag was ejected by referee Joe Forte with 1:05 left in third for arguing a foul call. Pistons head coach Alvin Gentry, assistant John Hammond and Utah head coach Jerry Sloan also picked up technicals during the game.
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