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Quick Recap: Suns get Stifle Towered, fall to Jazz, 114-97

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Rudy Gobert was incredible and the Suns just could not overcome a hot Jazz fourth quarter.

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

The Jazz really needed this game against the Suns for playoff positioning, and they showed it by playing quite hard and controlling the pace.

The Suns played hard as well, though, and basically efforted their way into the game all the way until the fourth quarter.

The Jazz grabbed a 10-point halftime lead when the young Suns got the Gobert-yips and missed 10 of 11 shots to end the half but then pulled back to a tie with just seconds left in the third quarter.

The Jazz, led by Joe Ingles, made big shots to start the fourth, though, while the Suns did not. Before anyone could blink, it was a 10-point Jazz lead. And it was just too much to come back from that, with no one outside Booker and Oubre playing well on offense.

It was a game with about four minutes left, Suns down only 10, but then the Jazz went on another run to blow it open.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Suns miss so many layups in a game. They got Stifle Towered.

Devin Booker scored 27 points with 6 assists, but was stepped on on a late drive and came up holding his foot, then soon checked out.

Kelly Oubre Jr. had 18 points and Tyler Johnson had 15 points, but no one really had a good game outside of Booker. The Jazz defense was just stellar.

Starters

Dragan Bender to go against Favors, plus Devin Booker, Tyler Johnson, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Deandre Ayton.

Ricky Rubio is starting for the Jazz, along with Donovan Mitchell, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles.

Tough, tough matchup for the smallish Suns.

First half

The Suns contested a few early Utah attempts at the rim, and took an 8-5 lead on some good signs: Booker and Bender both made their first three of the game.

But then Utah found a rhythm by running every offensive possession Derrick Favors on the right wing, who immediately either threw a lob to Gobert at the rim or took the three pointer. A quick 7-0 Utah run forced a timeout by Kokoskov.

Rudy Gobert is a BIG problem for the Suns and Deandre Ayton. Ayton is settling for fallaway jumpers to clear Gobert’s incredibly long reach, but he doesn’t have many better options in a one on one face-up matchup. The only way Ayton could do well here against Gobert is getting behind him.

But the Suns once again did not go quietly, and efforted their way to a lead at the end of one quarter, 27-25.

The Suns kept the lead through the middle of the second quarter until they got a case of the yips on layup attempts against Gobert, and then missed a few jumpers as well. They went three minutes without scoring, allowing Utah to take a 44-37 lead before Tyler Johnson got points on a shooting foul.

Before half was over, the Suns had missed 10 of their last 11 shots.

Suns down 53-43 to the Jazz at half. Jazz have 28 of those points in the paint. 18 assists on 20 field goals. Tons of lobs to Gobert on one end, “deters” by Gobert on the other. He’s been a monster.

Second half

Did not start well. Two easy buckets by the Jazz before Booker scored on a floater.

But then the Suns went on 10-2 run to get right back in the game and the Jazz knew it was on.

The Suns just couldn’t get over the hump though, missing some open shots, and the Jazz went on a little run to take an 8-point lead again.

Gobert is already up to 15 points and 17 rebounds (7 on offense) feasting on the Suns lack of size in the middle. Ayton is big, but he’s not Gobert-big. No one is.

But Ayton in particular has been a nothing on offense, missing a layup and four jumpers with Gobert in his face. Richaun Holmes has been a nothing as well, though he did get a nice poster dunk on Gobert late in the third.

The end of the third, once Gobert sat down, was another scramble drill to close the gap. And the Suns had it tied until Joe Ingles made a three off a nice ATO to get him an open corner three.

Suns down 78-75 after three.

Fourth quarter

The Jazz began the quarter with eight points on three possessions to take a 85-77 lead.

Can the Suns come back one more time? Gonna have to make some big shots if they want to do that.

Joe Ingles is asserting himself now after a quiet night so far. After zero points at halftime, he went on an 8-0 run along with a few assists to help the Jazz grab this 10-point lead.

Booker had to rest and Ayton was in the middle of his worst game as a pro, so it’s not good when Josh Jackson makes only one of two wide open breakaway dunks with no defender on him after Mikal Bridges steals....

When Booker came back in, the Suns were down 13 points with 6 minutes left.