You never know what to expect from this Phoenix Suns team. Combine that unpredictability with a tired Utah Jazz team, and you start to understand how Phoenix could turn what looked to be a second-straight blowout loss into a close game down the stretch. Unfortunately, the magic Phoenix used to claw back into the game ran out two minutes too soon, resulting in the Suns leaving Salt Lake City with a 112-105 loss.
A lineup of Brandon Knight, Leandro Barbosa, Jared Dudley, Dragan Bender, and Tyson Chandler erased the 94-75 deficit they began the 4th quarter facing, with a Barbosa layup tying the game at 103 with 3:07 to play. Utah would retake the lead with two minutes left on a Knight turnover that resulted in a fastbreak dunk for Gordon Hayward, who finished with 28 points to lead the Jazz. A floater by Shelvin Mack on Utah’s next possession pushed the lead to four points with 1:30 to play.
After the deficit grew to six, Knight drew an and-1 opportunity on a driving layup with 37.3 seconds left in the game, but he missed the free throw. The Jazz would convert an alley-oop to Rudy Gobert on the ensuing play to take a 111-105 advantage and ice the game away.
The Suns looked primed for another bad loss tonight. They opened the game with a botched lob attempt and committed 13 turnovers to just five assists in the 1st half to fall behind 65-45 at the break. However, fatigue from playing last night in Los Angeles caught up to the Jazz, allowing the Suns to hold them to just one made field goal through the first 10 minutes of the 4th quarter until Hayward’s breakaway dunk shifted momentum away from Phoenix.
Phoenix was led in scoring by Devin Booker’s 21 points, but Knight (15 points), Barbosa (13 points), and Dudley (9 points, 7 rebounds) provided the important lift during the 4th-quarter surge.