Jazz Defense Too Much For Suns, Final Score 98-89
After losing to the Rockets, the struggling Suns hosted the Utah Jazz on Saturday night. The Suns lost both games since the Hornaceck firing, and tonight added a third. The Suns’ will continue their home stand on Monday when they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Suns went into the first quarter resembling the opposite of how they looked last game against the Rockets. The Jazz scored with ease in the first quarter, and the Suns couldn’t get any points until four and a half minutes into the game. By that point, the Jazz were already in the double digits on the scoreboard. The Jazz kept a comfortable lead throughout the quarter, keeping an eight to ten point lead throughout the quarter. Earl Watson subbed out all of the starters with a little under six minutes left in the quarter, hoping to give his team a spark. That didn’t work however, and the Suns ended the quarter down 31-12. While the Suns were able to score slightly more in the second quarter, it wasn’t by much. The Suns were able to slow the Jazz down, and got within thirteen points at one point, but still ended the half down by 18, with a score of 53-35.
The Suns were able to improve their play in the second half, and even though they started the quarter with the Jazz pushing their lead to as many as 23, Mirza Teletovic and newly acquired Orlando Johnson started to score, and helped get the Suns within 13 at the end of the third. The Suns entered the fourth with a 71-58 deficit, and the Suns couldn’t tighten up enough on the defensive end to get closer than eight points in the quarter. The Suns kept on fighting, but even back-to-back three’s from Devin Booker couldn’t get the Suns closer than six. The Suns just couldn’t stop the Jazz on offense, and lost by a score of 98-89. The Suns shot 30-80(37.5%) from the field, and 9-24(37.5%) from behind the arc.
Booker was the leading scorer for the Suns tonight, with 18 total points on 6-14 shooting, with 2-5 from the three point line, and a perfect 4-4 from the charity stripe. While he has had better games,He was the most efficient Suns that doesn’t come from Bosnia. Teams are starting to pressure him when he has the ball, but he continues to make smart decisions, and won’t force a bad shot.
Teletovic continues to shoot lights out off the bench, scoring 15 points on 5-9 shooting from the floor, and 3-5 from the three point line. He is willing to take shots from inside the arc, which has helped him be productive when the defense has someone running right up to him expecting him to shoot the three.
Turnovers have been an issue this entire season for the Suns, but tonight the Suns didn’t die by them. With a total of ten turnovers, the Suns were able to trade shots with the Jazz. Defense continues to be an issue, but the Suns can make up for some of that by turning the ball over less.