The Phoenix Suns shot 29% in the first half. The Jazz defense was stifling all night.
But guess what? The Suns didn't not give in, and had a six point lead halfway through the 4th quarter (83-77) before Devin Booker even had a chance to take over the game due to foul trouble.
But the win was not meant to be. Once again, the Suns lost on a last second shot after being unable to make their game winner.
Suns lose 96-95.
Big props to the crowd! You made the night so much fun.
How it ended
The Jazz pulled to 85-84 on a little run by Bojan Bogdanovic, but Rubio got the Suns a big bucket going after Rudy to settle everyone down.
Then Booker made a three to stretch the lead to four — 90-86 with 3:19 left. But Baynes fouled out on the next Suns possession, inducing Rudy Gobert to flop like a felled tree.
But the Jazz got turnovers on consecutive possessions — after the Suns had managed them all game — to take a 95-92 lead with 1:45 left. The Suns lead was suddenly gone in a pair of fast breaks. Once again Bojan led the way (now with 29 points, including 9-9 on FTs).
Jevon Carter comes back in and makes a game-tying three! 95-95!
On the Suns last possession, Devin Booker this time got free of the defender and drove into the teeth of the defense and made a perfect pass to Kelly Oubre in the corner. But Kelly missed. Jazz ball.
On the Jazz last possession, Donovan Mitchell took the ball, drove the lane and drew the foul with 0.4 seconds left. He makes one.
Jazz win 96-95.
The Suns are 2-2 now. Their only losses to the Nuggets and Jazz by a total of two points.
Suns: Ricky Rubio — Devin Booker — Kelly Oubre Jr. — Dario Saric — Aron Baynes
Jazz: Mike Conley Jr. — Donovan Mitchell — Bojan Bogdanovic — Royce O’Neal — Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert won the tip, but traveled when trying to go up for a deep layup on Aron Baynes.
First two possessions for each team: turnovers. All of them.
Finally, Bojan drove and got a foul call. By then, Saric had collected two quick fouls (offensive, then shooting) and Frank Kaminsky was in the game quickly.
The Suns committed fouls on back to back possessions while missing threes on two of their own, but were able to tie the score at 3-3 on a Baynes triple.
Both teams were playing aggressive, and the refs kept calling the fouls.
The Suns stayed in the game with a pair of threes — Frank-n-Baynes! — but otherwise snuggled against the Jazz’ best defense in the NBA. Monty Williams called timeout when the Jazz went up 12-8 on a three (Bojan) and an open drive for a layup (Emmanuel Mudiay).
The Jazz built the lead up to 22-14 lead with Rudy Gobert just dominating the boards (so TALL) and defensive paint (so LONG). The Suns seemed to be over-aware of Rudy on every play, and yet ended up driving right into him almost every time.
I feel like the Suns can only use drives in this game to set up threes, and yet the Jazz are aware of this and are guarding passing lanes back out to the arc with gusto.
Bojan Bogdanovic had 11 of the Jazz first 24 points, many of them on drives and free throws.
Jevon Carter had a great defensive sequence on Donovan Mitchell, only to get called for a phantom call when Mitchell lost the ball. But Mitchell missed the free throws anyway.
On the Suns end, they finished the first quarter missing a couple of makable threes, and ended up down 28-21 after one.
The Suns started the second quarter with Ricky Rubio joining Baynes, Cameron Johnson, Tyler Johnson and Mikal Bridges.
Bricks. Lots of bricks. The Jazz just play hard defense, and they don’t let you get comfortable doing anything. Lots of rushed shots.
The Jazz came out with starting back court Conley and Mitchell, along with Joe Ingles, Jeff Green and Ed Davis.
Oubre came in for Cam and quickly got a steal and foul call (made one FT) to help liven the group back up. Saric came in too, but committed a quick foul and left, now saddled with three.
By the time Oubre drew an and-one on a three, the Jazz had out FTd the Suns 16-4. SIXTEEN TO FOUR.
Oubre’s FT pulled the Suns to 31-29, but Ingles made a three after Frank missed one and the Jazz got comfy again.
The Jazz were back to their starters at the 7:21 mark with a 34-29 lead— not taking the Suns lightly. But the Suns wouldn’t go quietly either. The Suns played tough defense too, getting in passing lanes, tying up ball handlers. Good defense, just different than the Jazz.
The Suns finally pulled even 35-35 with 3:38 to go in the half on an Oubre steal and dunk — after the Suns had missed THREE easy layups off being nervous about Gobert’s block attempts (Gobert got one).
At this point, the Jazz have taken 18 free throws to the Suns 7, and the Suns have missed a number of easy shots — point blank and threes. Just rushing when they finally get a shot off outside Gobert’s reach.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Suns should feel real good about this while also being highly frustrated.
And then the Suns took the lead 37-35 on a pair of Jevon Carter free throws — from drawing a foul off the ball. Dude is a beast!
The Suns later took the lead again on Carter free throws. Seems that's the only way to score in this game.
Unfortunately, the Jazz finished the half on a quick 8-0 run in the final 1:10, showing an offense neither team could muster the first 23 minutes.
Suns suddenly down 46-39 at half.
- Suns shooting 28.9%. 22% on threes. Even the vaunted Jazz can’t take all the credit for that.
- Devin Booker has been good on defense and efficient on offense — 4-8 from the field — but no assists.
- Rubio has only 3 points (1-6 from the field) and 1 assist at half
- That’s 1 assist combined from players who average 9 per half together (Rubio 10 per game, Booker 8 per game).
- Kaminsky and Oubre have combined to shoot 6-19 from the field, accounting for almost 40% of the Suns shots because they were willing to be aggressive against the Jazz D. Others were not as aggressive.
- The Jazz are shooting only 32% themselves... but have made 6 of 16 threes to the Suns’ 4 of 18. That’s basically the difference in the score right there.
I feel like the second half is going to have a lot of shot-making in it. Let’s hope that the Suns more than the Jazz.
The second half started with Mike Conley’s fourth foul call. He’s almost having as bad a night as Dario Saric, who got 3 fouls and a turnover in just two minutes of play.
Saric did make a three about a minute into the quarter to help the Suns pull within five points (48-43).
Then Booker was called for a flagrant foul, which the Jazz turned into four points to take a 52-43 lead — their biggest of the game.
The Suns responded with a Baynes three and Booker layup in between a Mitchell 2-for-1 catching an finishing his own miss.
Feels like the scoring lid has been removed for the half. Teams are now released.
After Booker made a layup, Gobert flopped to draw Booker’s fourth foul — and wave him off the floor as he was replaced by Tyler Johnson.
A minute later, the Jazz returned the ball-slap favor by punching Baynes. Mitchell was called for a flagrant as well. Baynes missed both free throws though. Oubre made the dunk right in Gobert’s grill, so the Suns got at least two points out of that.
After that, the crowd was really into it! Chanting on every play, cheering for Rubio making a jumper, chanting defense on a couple of Jazz failed possessions.
Coming out of a timeout, the Suns had another chance to tie or take the lead, down just 61-59. And they're doing this without Booker on the floor. (or Ayton for that matter)
They tied it up on an Oubre back door cut and then again on a great pass from Saric to Baynes...and then took the lead and the and-one!
At the end of three, it’s 70-70 and the Suns are in this!
The Suns started the quarter with Frank driving hard to the rim (Gobert is out resting) to get a pair of FTs to give the Suns a 72-70 lead.
Then Jevon Carter hit a three in transition and the Suns lead is five! (75-70)
After a Cam Johnson three its up to 78-71!
The Suns went on a 14-5 run with Gobert out of the lineup for this between-quarter rest.
The Jazz got three or four straight favorable calls on their next possession to... finally get Rudy to the line.
Booker (after his four fouls) and Saric returned with a 78-73 lead at 8:43 left. He made a mid range to put the Suns back up 80-73.
It was a six point lead for the Suns halfway through the quarter.