Suns’ Get Dominated in Utah, Lose 110-89
The Suns dropped the second night of a back-to-back in Utah against the Jazz. Coach Jeff Hornaceck benched Brandon Knight and P.J. Tucker in favor of Devin Booker and T.J. Warren, hoping to get better production off of the bench. The Suns were behind from tip off, and lost by a final score of 110-89. The Suns will have one day off between games, and will look to get a win against the Nuggets on Wednesday. The Suns are currently 2-0 against the Nuggets, with a win at home and on the road in Denver.
The Suns started off the game slow, getting outscored 7-0 to start the game, with Gordon Hayward scoring five of those seven. Warren got the first five points for the Suns, hitting a jump shot from inside and outside the three point line. However, the Jazz were able to jump out to a 12 point lead in the same span it took the Suns to get those five points. By the time the Suns got to 11 points, Utah had already scored 27 points. Warren was the leading scorer for the Suns during the first, scoring seven points, but the Suns were still down twelve points with a score of 33-21.
The Suns kept fighting in the second, but trailed by at least ten for most of the quarter, but were able to inch within eight or nine for a possession at a time thanks to three pointers from Knight. Knight helped pull the Suns within seven with a score of 41-34 with a little under six minutes left in the half, but the Jazz were able to push their lead back to ten due to a three point shot from Trevor Booker. Mirza Teletovic cut the lead to seven with 1:50 left in the half, but the Jazz kept scoring, and went back up by 11 to end the half.
The Jazz were able to push out an 11-0 run to start the quarter, and it wasn’t until six and a half minutes into the quarter that the Suns were able to score points, thanks to a pull up jump shot from Knight. Knight and Teletovic were the highlights of an 18 point quarter. Knight scored ten of those points, and Teletovic had six thanks to two shots from behind the arc. The Suns got outscore 25-18 in the third, and were down 79-61 heading into the fourth.
The Suns couldn’t make up any ground in the fourth, and were dominated just as they were throughout the rest of the game. Getting outscored 31-28, the Suns lost by a score of 110-89. The two leading scorers for the Suns were off the bench. Knight scored 26 points on 8-17 shooting, with 2-8 from behind the arc and 8-8 from the free throw line. Teletovic scored 17 points, shooting 5-6 from the field, 3-4 from the three point line, and 4-4 from the free throw line. None of the starters scored over 10 points, with Warren being the closest at nine points. The Suns shot 31-79(39.2%) from the field and 7-24(29.2%) from the three point line. The Suns will look to turn it around against the Nuggets in Phoenix on Wednesday.
Knight had a strong scoring night off of the bench, scoring 26 on 8-17 shooting. This kind of scoring is the reason why he came off the bench for tonight’s game. Hornaceck should stick with this change for a couple more games, and if Knight can be the bench scoring and Booker gives some production in the starting lineup, this team can make more noise throughout the season.
Teletovic had another strong outing, scoring 17 points off the bench. He gets minutes because he can shoot over 50% from the three point line. He shot 3-4 from that range tonight, and a combination of him and Knight off the bench could really give the starters less of a load to carry.
The starters as a whole had a rough night, combining for 30 points. Bledsoe was off, and Tyson Chandler had a single point. Booker had six points in the starting lineup, but didn’t attempt a single three. Booker will need to be aggressive on offense if he will be able to make an impact in the starting lineup. Warren was able to score nine points, but should be given more of a chance to make plays if he is going to be in the starting lineup. Hornaceck needs to change the play calling up slightly to take advantage of this lineups strengths. We will see how Hornaceck takes on the play calling against the Nuggets.