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Final Score: Suns are obliterated by Utah in 129-97 loss

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The Suns are encountering a trend of not keeping games close. This is now the fifth time in six games where they trailed by 20 or more points.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This game did not go well, and it got out of hand immediately. A disturbing trend of trailing by 25 or more points in a game continued tonight for the Suns.

Also, we saw Donovan Mitchell let out his frustrations against Phoenix. He ended up with 40 points on only 19 shot attempts (14-19, 7-9 on 3s). Utah’s starting lineup combined for 92 points while the Suns’ combined for only 46.

This game was as ugly as it looked. Dave and I recapped it for you below.

Lineups

The Jazz (22-28) are back to (mostly) full strength with Rudy Gobert at center, with Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio.

The Suns are using the same starting lineup that beat the Mavs: Devin Booker at the point, with Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren on the wings and Marquese Chriss and Tyson Chandler the bigs.

Out

Alex Len is definitely out (ankle), as are the usuals.

For the Jazz, the only regular out is Rodney Hood (lower left leg).

First Half

Not a good start for the Suns here. The Jazz, with Gobert, force a lot of jumpers rather than layups. And the Jazz create a bunch of shots at the rim.

Soon, it was 12-6 Jazz with Donovan Mitchell collecting a pair of three-point plays (and-one layup + a three).

Ricky Rubio made his first two shots as well - a long two and a driving layup, which are basically the two shots you want him to take. But he made them.

Rudy Gobert was altering EVERYTHING at the rim, blocking two Jackson drives plus altering a number of others.

Meanwhile, Booker looked stiff and hobbled. He didn’t seem to have any burst.

Soon it was a 19-8 lead for the Jazz.

Then it was 24-8. Mitchell and Rubio now a combined 6-6 for 15 points.

T.J. Warren, Marquese Chriss and Josh Jackson were a combined 2-9, mostly trying to score with Gobert in range.

It wasn’t until Dragan Bender took Gobert off the dribble and Tyler Ulis beat him to the rim on a drive that the Suns got scores in the paint.

Ulis and Bender started their stints a whopping 5-6 from the field, and suddenly the Suns’ second unit was beating the Jazz second unit.

The Suns ran off a 15-4 run to end the quarter down just 23-8.

Dragan Bender finished the quarter with 8 points and 3 rebounds, while Ulis had 5 points and an assist.

Unfortunately, the Jazz began the second quarter on an 8-2 run, mostly attributable to Booker being unable to do anything right. After returning to start the second, Booker missed several shots and committed a backcourt turnover by being unable to reach far enough to catch a pass.

The Jazz lead quickly grew to 22 points by the end of the second quarter. Donovan Mitchell had 21 points on 8 shots, while Devin Booker had only 4 points on 10 shots. Not good, Bob. Get healthy, Devin. From there, Phoenix saw Mitchell and Co. continue to dominate. At one point, Utah stretched the lead above 20 points.

At halftime, the Suns trailed 62-40. Dragan Bender and Tyler Ulis were the leading scorers with 11 and 7 points respectively, so chew on that for a second.

Second Half

You thought a 22-point deficit was bad? Well, the Jazz expanded it to 34 in just over 5 minutes.

Mitchell can’t miss at all right now. He’s already up to 29 points on 10-12 FGA in 24 minutes. Maybe comparing Mitchell and Jackson per 36 minutes last month wasn’t the smartest idea.

A disturbing trend for Phoenix as of late has been these blowouts. In five of their past six games, the Suns have trailed by 20 or more points. That definitely isn’t a recipe for success, let alone winning a single game in the NBA.

At this pace, Phoenix would be lucky to win 10 more games the rest of the season if these types of performances continue.

As we sit here with 4 minutes left in the third, Phoenix trails 86-52. And it doesn’t even feel that close either. It has the vibe of the season-opening loss to Portland.

Right after I wrote this out, Phoenix went on a 7-0 run to cut Utah’s lead to 27. It’s one of those nights here at Talking Stick Resort Arena, once again.

Booker has been much more aggressive so far offensively, albeit when the game is completely out of hand. As I mentioned earlier, should Booker sit out a game or two to rest his ribs? If they still lose by nearly 30 when he plays, I don’t see why not.

Josh Jackson has put together some nice sequences this quarter. He is up to 14 points, including many drives to the rim. Jackson is starting to get a lot better at creating contact while using his speed to his advantage in transition.

If utilized correctly, Jackson can be a speed demon in transition. Jay Triano is finally starting to use Jackson in similar manners over the past month, so it is something to monitor in his development moving forward.

At the end of the third quarter, Phoenix trailed Utah 94-73. However, we’re keeping track of the Dragan Bender game. He is up to 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists in 22 minutes.

Meanwhile, to open the fourth, the Suns still can’t stop Mitchell. He missed a shot, then outrebounded a 7-footer to get his own shot again to draw a foul. He’s up to 31 points in 28 minutes, with only 14 shot attempts as well.

Mitchell just scored again to bring his total up to 36 points. He’s definitely making a big-time statement tonight.

As has been a theme this entire game, Utah continues to have its way on offense against the Suns. They have shot over 50% from the field and beyond the arc.

These types of blowouts are becoming a regular occurrence for this Suns roster as they reach the toughest part of their schedule from now on.

When everyone outside of Bender and Ulis has bad games by their standards, it likely results in what happened tonight: the Suns getting slaughtered.

Final: Jazz 129, Suns 97