The game began rather ominously with Alex Len managing to go 0-3 in the early going, with an impressive airball hook shot, and picking up three fouls before breaking a sweat. So much for his breakout game.
Len wasn't the only player with a penchant for fouling, though, as the Jazz went 17-22 from the free throw line in the first quarter. Not the game. The first quarter.
Rudy Gobert was 8-11 from the line by himself and notched 12 points and 5 rebounds in the period. He's good.
Devin Booker was the lone bright spot in the quarter as he led the Suns with 10 points. Everyone else had four points combined and Phoenix trailed 35-14.
It wasn't long before the Jazz had extended their lead to 30 points (46-16) and it started to look like the Suns might not win this game. Eric Bledsoe wasn't deterred by my creeping doubt, however, and led the (charge?) back into the game with 12 points in the second quarter.
By halftime the Suns entire starting five was in danger of fouling out and the Jazz had attempted 32 free throws. Phoenix had committed 14 turnovers.
In a way, it almost felt like the Suns were lucky to only be down by 18 points at the half (58-40).
It would have been easy for the Suns to roll over after their huge early deficit, but Phoenix came back in the second half with a new energy. Led by 12 in the quarter from Marquese Chriss the Suns outscored the Jazz 38-30 in the third period to cut the lead to 10 points entering the fourth quarter.
The physical play the Suns displayed in the team's previous encounter with the Jazz was renascent.
Phoenix opened up the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run and closed the lead to two points (88-86). Quite the climb from down 30 in the first half.
Then those pesky fouls started to sneak up on them.
After scoring nine points in the early stages of the fourth quarter Alex Len collected his sixth foul and took the rest of the night off. He finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds after a shaky start (and despite being plagued by foul trouble).
Next was Marquese Chriss. He joined Alex on the pine after a 14 point night.
Since the Suns weren't entertaining the option of putting the starters back in, because preseason, it left Archie Goodwin, Tyler Ulis, Dragan Bender, Alan Williams and Derrick Jones Jr. the task of completing the comeback.
Luckily, the Jazz were closing things out with their reserves, too.
Down 108-100 with just over a minute to go, Ulis hit two free throws. On the next possession Alan Williams converted a three point play to trim the deficit to three. A driving dunk by Goodwin, who finished with 13 points, had the Suns within one with 20 seconds left. After the Jazz hit a pair of free throws, Goodwin drove to the basket again. This time he scored and drew a foul.
Archie missed the tying free throw, but Ulis recovered the miss and passed it back to Goodwin. Archie isolated at the top of the key, and flashed past his defender into the paint for a thunderous dunk and the Suns first lead of the game with three seconds left.
The Jazz had a chance to answer, but Joe Ingles's jumper at the buzzer caromed off the rim.
Somehow the Suns won the game 111-110.
Coming back from down by 30 in a game with 79 fouls and 106 free throw attempts. The Suns showed grit and determination and won one of the ugliest games you'll ever see. The only thing worse than watching a game like that would be watching a game like that and losing at the buzzer.
Take that, Jazz fans!