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Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz Recap: Suns roll as Bledsoe returns

The Jazz put up a fight both early and late, but the Suns were simply the better team and that played out over the course of the full 48 minutes. The result was a 112-101 win by the Suns as Eric Bledsoe returned to the court after missing the last six games.

Congratulations on eclipsing 5,000 career points Channing.
Congratulations on eclipsing 5,000 career points Channing.
Christian Petersen

Summing it Up

The Suns got off to a slow start, but once they weathered that initial storm it was all Phoenix as the Suns cruised to a 112-101 victory. The Jazz put up a fight in the fourth quarter, but the deficit was too muh for them to overcome. Eric Bledsoe returned after missing six games and made his presence felt, while Markieff Morris was dominant off the bench to lead the six Suns in double-figures. Marvin Williams came out of nowhere to have a big game for the Jazz, but it wasn't nearly enough.

Telling the Story

Utah came out ready to play, while the Suns did not. The result was a 9-0 start for the Jazz. However, Phoenix responded with 11 of the next 13 points (nine of which were scored by Goran Dragic) to tie the game a little more than four minutes in.

The two teams traded buckets for the next few minutes until Phoenix took control with three 3-pointers (two by Gerald Green and one by Channing Frye) to go ahead 25-20.Markieff Morris checked in and scored almost instantly, foreshadowing what was to come, and then Eric Bledsoe made his first appearance with just under three minutes left in the quarter, replacing Goran Dragic.

Unfortunately, the Suns' offense sputtered without Dragic, as they managed just a layup and pair of Morris free throws in the final three minutes while Utah ripped off nine points of their own to take a 33-31 lead after one.

The teams traded baskets for the first half of the second quarter, and Phoenix held a 44-43 lead at the midway point. Then the Suns stepped it up and closed out the half on a very balanced 18-8 run with four different Suns doing the damage. Phoenix led 62-51 at halftime.

Phoenix built up the lead even more with a 33-27 third quarter, including a big 10-point period by Keef Morris. By the end of the quarter, the Suns had nearly hung 100 on the Jazz and led 95-78.

Utah fought back in the fourth quarter, but the hole was too deep to dig out of and they never got closer than 11 and the Suns cruised to a 112-101 victory.

Stand-out Performers

  • Markieff Morris: Keef finished with 23 points on 8-13 shooting. He beat the Utah defense again and again in a variety of ways, hitting a three, going a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe and hitting shots inside and out.
  • DragonBlade: Both guys were really good tonight, and fittingly both ended up with 19 points. Dragic did it on 7-12 from the field and 5-5 from the line with nine assists, three rebounds and two blocks, and most of his work came in the first half with 17 points and six assists. Bledsoe did it on 7-11 shooting and 4-6 from the line with six rebounds, three steals and two assists. It's good to have Bledsoe back on the court, and Dragic continued to put up his typical excellent numbers.
  • Miles Plumlee: Big game from Plumlee as he recorded another double-double with 15 and 10 with two assists and one block to finish a game-high +24.

Final Thoughts

  • Dave just wrote about how focused the Suns have been on taking 3-pointers, but tonight it was their work inside the arc that led to victory. The Suns were only 8-25 from deep, but they made up for it by shooting 33-50 from two and getting to the free-throw line 25 times (hitting 22).

  • Channing Frye finished tonight's game with a respectable 13 points on 5-7 shooting (3-5 from deep) and in the process surpassed 5,000 career points. Congratulations Mr. Frye.
  • The Suns beat a bad team. Good job. Now don't let up tomorrow at home.

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