It was Jackson's offense, however, that staved off a furious Utah Jazz rally.
Jackson scored 29 points and the Pistons never trailed in a 95-92 win over the Jazz.
The Pistons (24-21) ended a two-game losing streak.
"He had a hell of a game and forget the offense," Van Gundy said. "That is the most consistent effort from start to finish defensively that I've seen Reggie make since we've had him.
"I've never seen him work to that level like he did tonight. ... I thought our team as a whole made that effort defensively."
Detroit jumped out to a 20-10 lead in the first quarter and held on the rest of the way. The Pistons had an answer every time Utah pulled close — usually in the form of a basket by Jackson.
"We got stops and were able to get out and get some easy baskets in transition and get some runs, Jackson said, "especially needed those at the end with the way they surged back in the game."
The Jazz offense was stagnant and shot just 22.7 percent from the field in the first quarter and 31.7 percent in the entire half.
Ilyasova scored 13 in the first half to help Jackson carry the offensive load.
The Jazz flubbed the final possession of the game, trailing by three with 5.4 seconds left. Hayward ended up missing a forced 24-foot jumper.
"We can talk about last shot, we can talk about 2-for-1 at the end of the game," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "The game to me ... we put ourselves in a position to be in those situations when we didn't play very good for the majority of the game. "
Pistons: Detroit had a scare late in the third quarter when Andre Drummond was undercut going up for a lob from Brandon Jennings. He didn't miss any time and Chris Johnson was called for a flagrant foul. ... Drummond was held to seven points, six rebounds and no blocks. ... The Pistons were 16-for-33 from the free-throw line.
Jazz: Utah has lost five of its last seven games. ... The Jazz used a short stint of Hack-A-Dre against Drummond late in the third quarter. ... Hood scored 11 straight Jazz points to start the fourth quarter.
Jazz forward Derrick Favors returned to the floor after a 16-game absence do to a back problem. He played just 19 minutes, but Snyder said that was due to conditioning. He finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Favors said the hip was also a problem and at its worse he couldn't bend to tie his shoe.
"Today was the only day I felt I was close to playing," Favors said. "It was definitely tough dealing with a back issue. I couldn't really move, couldn't really walk.
"I kept getting better day-to-day, but I knew I wasn't ready."
The Jazz's injury bad luck continued when starting point guard Raul Neto left the game in the first quarter after getting hit in the head. The rookie did not return due to concussion-like symptoms.
The Pistons broke out into a snowball fight after their shootaround at the University of Utah on Monday. Van Gundy said that kind of close friendship on a team isn't always a great thing. "It can work either way," Van Gundy said. "It should, but it can also go to where you are so into the friendship that you are too worried about that to hold someone accountable. It can work either way and that is a hard balance for guys to find."
"Other than free-throw shooting, that really wasn't a close game tonight," Van Gundy said. "I hate to say that because it was a three-point game, but if you look at all the other numbers it should've been 10 or 12 point game. The free throws are what brought it back and made it a close game."
The Pistons host the 76ers on Wednesday.
The Jazz host the Hornets on Wednesday.