The Suns didn't exactly look horrible tonight, but it wasn't a masterpiece, even by preseason standards. Missed free throws (14) and periods of flat, unmotivated defensive play put the Suns into a hole.
The second unit showed their potential and managed to take a lead early in the fourth, but too many missed shots let that slip away.
The good news is that the starters, for the most part, looked fine. It wasn't until Gentry started experimenting with his puzzle pieces that things went south, with only 11 points scored in the second quarter.
Hedo Turkoglu left in the second with only 9 minutes played. He was reported to have a back contusion and didn't return.
More game recap here, including postgame quotes:
Suns Drop Typical Preseason Game With Some Good Things, Some Bad Things - SB Nation Arizona
It's simply not meaningful to look at a practice session (which is all these games are) and read too much into anything. The entire month of October is training camp and the exhibition games are, at best, dress rehearsals but in reality much more like a fancy scrimmage.
"It's preseason and some players have -- how you say -- tough legs and still need some free days to recover. Hopefully, when season is going to start we're going to make everything," Goran explained.
Here's the bullet-by-bullet blow-by-blow of the game. Enjoy, I did.
- Robin with a great defensive play in the lane to start the game. Clearly, shaving and trimming his frizzy hair hasn't hurt him...he is sporting a bandage over the top corner (eyebrow-ish area) of his right eye. Could be a shaving accident but probably not.
- Jazz being very creative with their offense. Feed the ball to Jefferson. Watch. Repeat.
- Love watching spunky, peepy Nash this early in the season...trying to burn a mental image so in January can have point of reference/comparison
- Hedo playing D all up in the Milsap's grill. Paul still hit a tough fade away 12 ft on the baseline but it was a well contested shot
- Another great block from Robin. His touch is here on the offensive end but the defense is good...oops, just picked up his second foul.
- Gentry experimenting like he said he would...playing Warrick at the 4 and Josh at the 3 with Nash, Frye and J-Rich. It's a puzzle, people. A people puzzle.
- Whoa, AK47 with the floppy hair look and slight mullet. Wasn't prepared for that
- Josh doing damage on the glass and then made a great pass to JRich but he probably should have gone back up with it instead. Damn him and his unselfishness
- Suns pressuring the ball more in the back court or 3/4 court. Per Gentry at practice the other day the intent isn't to get a steal but to take time off the clock and disrupt the offensive flow
- Othyus Jeffers got the start at the two for Utah. Ryan Thompson and Raja Bell also started there for the Jazz this preseason. Obviously, they don't have much confidence in that position right now
- CJ Miles goes right down the middle of the lane for an uncontested layup. I can hear Gentry yelling (in my head) from here
- Raja Bell gets a nice hand when he checked in...but no bells were rung for him
- Gentry telling ref that Utah player was grabbing Suns player's jersey, "He's got to get in shape, you have to let him run"
- Goran did a great job splitting two defenders, keeping his balance, drawing defenders and kicking to a wide open Dudley for a three...which JD missed
- Game delayed while they clean up blood that must have been splattered by Dexter the way the are cleaning it from all different parts of the court
- Goran and Hakim failed to connect on a pass. Warrick pointed up after telling Dragic to throw it at the rim, not at his chest
- Jared certainly attacking more off the bounce this year
- Kirilenko takes a lot of shit for a lot of reasons but that floppy-haired Russian can play, Goran beat him with a nice behind the back move but AK recovered and blocked the layup attempt
- Suns taking way too many jump shots...getting nothing in the paint. The problem with the drive and kick offense is that it relies on hitting the shots when they are kicked. Not enough low post scoring options. Gentry knows it too but hasn't found a solution yet
- Wow, Nash throw that ball ahead on the break and I looked up and it was Dudley and I was like, Oh nooooo, but Jared managed to catch and finish with a reverse layup in one nice motion. Impressive.
- Clark getting some run with the starters at the PF...so far not looking so good but Gentry believes in giving you a chance to play so I expect we will see a lot of him tonight
- Oh lawdy, why. WHY are you putting old people on the Kiss Kam!!! PLEASE NO
- Jazz hit a lot of long-range shots...for the most part, the Suns defended well.
- Ok, so the Jazz are only 2-8 from three but that doesn't change the fact they hit a lot of jump shots
- Both teams with 22 points in the paint...that's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It feels like both sides are jacking up a lot of J's. In fact, I'm just going to go with that and ignore the stat. Stats lie, my eyes don't.
- WTH! It's going to be 98 degrees tomorrow! Enough already!!!
- Hakim to Lopez, lob dunk!
- No Hedo to start the 2nd half. Interesting...back contusion, not returning. Not good.
- See, CJ Miles his a jump shot which totally proves my point that stats lie
- Deron Williams tripped Nash and then almost tripped himself rushing over to help him up. Respect.
- Several times I've seen Josh defending Jefferson in the post. Not sure how or why this is happening. Warrick and Lopez on the floor as well. Need to pay attention more.
- Nash just threw a bad lob to JRich on the break. You might want to see if your locust insurance is up to date (get it?)
- Phew...Nash hit Warrick for a nice lob. The world is saved.
- Frye delivers the no-lay up hard foul on Al Jeff...not much else in the way of intensity and physicality
- Josh came to the game with bed-head and it's getting worse as the game goes on. Little spiky bits all over the 'fro. Get that man a pick, for Nash's sake.
- Great push-ahead pass by Goron to Warrick who ran the wing well and of course finished
- Earl back in, Warrick out. Gentry pissed about not stopping the ball in transition. Those two things may or may not be related.
- Suns picking up the defensive intensity now with the second unit on floor. Dragic, Dudley, Frye, Clark, Goran, Childress against the Jazz starters (mostly). Of course, this unit also isn't getting anything done offensively
- Gentry going with a his second unit a lot, trying to get them time together and to see if he can get some defensive intensity. It waxes and wanes (which means it comes and goes).
- Dragic providing a little offense from the 3pt line and Earl with a pretty finish at the rim over AK. Chillz with a run out and 1 as well. Crowd getting into it, chanting D-Fense with no electronic prompting. Suns respond on take lead, 84-83
- Game's really picked up here. Suns not willing to roll over and let this one go. Now, if Frye could only hit one of the 38 open three's he's had
- Here's the game story last few minutes: Suns get stop. Frye misses. Repeat.
- Jazz now up 92-86. Game slipping away. Gentry calls time out.
- Yup, Gentry's seen enough. Jones, Janning, Dowdell in the game
- Have a great night and a wonderful rest of your week. It's been a pleasure flying with you. We hope you come back and see us again some time
- Gani Lawal with an Amare like baseline dunk over someone. Sweet....the 3rd unit did a good job closing the game