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Game 3 Recap: Suns blow out Jazz, 126-104, in home opener, Ring of Honor Night

The Phoenix Suns are now 2-1 on the season, looking like a team with a LOT more depth than given credit for

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

We thought the Phoenix Suns would rack up a bunch of blowouts behind the Big Three of Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and Kevin Durant.

Turns out even when one of the those guys play, the Suns can put on those blowouts anyway. Without Booker (ankle) and Beal (back spasms), the Suns supporting cast decided they could put on a show too by using Kevin Durant largely as, maybe not a decoy, but certainly not the first option.

They took a 20-point lead in the second quarter, a 33-point lead in the third quarter and coasted to an easy victory without KD in the fourth against the 1-1 Jazz.

The Jazz were admittedly tired, playing their first back-to-back of the season after a thrilling home victory over the healthy Los Angeles Clippers the night before. But even their own beat reporter isn’t giving them a pass.

The Suns were energized by a bad finish in their last game and wanted to set the record straight, and were also buoyed by their first home game, enhanced by the Suns biggest luminaries in team history with Ring of Honor night.

Put those together and it’s good night for the Suns!

Suns leaders:

  • Kevin Durant: 26 points (8-10 shooting, 9-9 free throws), 7 assists, 4 rebounds
  • Eric Gordon: 21 points (9-14 shooting, 3-7 threes) 4 assists
  • Grayson Allen: 17 points (6-10 shooting, 3-7 threes)
  • Team: 31 assists, 28 free throws, 37 three point attempts, 23 fast break points, 53% shooting

Jazz leaders:

  • Lauri Markkanen: 19 points, 3 rebounds
  • Collin Sexton: 14 points, 4 assists
  • Team: 22 assists, 14 free throws, 34 three point attempts, 4 fast break points, 43% shooting

The Suns are now 2-1 on the season. Their two games are a pair against the Spurs with the best NBA rookie in a generation in Victor Wembanyama. He helped the Spurs get their first win of the season against the lowly Houston Rockets on Friday night. These games will be fun to watch, Suns fans.

Starting Lineups


First quarter

The Jazz aare coming off a thrilling win at home on Friday night over the LA Clippers on their final possession to pull to 1-1 on the season. The Suns won their opener with Booker leading the way, and even when Book/Beal missed the next game they led into the the mid fourth quarter against a fully loaded Lakers team, but lost their mojo in the fourth when LeBron and Anthony Davis played the whole fourth and the Laker defense sold out with triple teams on on KD.

The KD-plus depth guys are at it again tonight, as Book and Beal remain out. They started a bit hesitant on offense and got down 4-0 pretty quickly, but then loosened up with defensive effort forcing turnovers and transition offense which then turned into energized halfcourt offense and a 10-0 Suns run before the Jazz scored again.

The Suns lead eventually got to 16-9 before a Utah burst pulled the game back to 18-16 to force a timeout. Eric Gordon is the Suns early scoring leader with 9 points on 4-5 shooting.

The Suns got their energy back out of the timeout, and finished the first quarter with a 37-27 lead after one quarter.

Kevin Durant has taken over the scoring lead with 10 on 3-4 shooting, while also dishing three assists. The Eric Gordon/Jordan Goodwin PG combo combined for 17 points 6-8 shooting, including 3-4 3P, and the team overall shot 5-10 on threes and 57% overall. The Suns forced 7 turnovers (Suns got 15 points off) against the Jazz, helping offset the Jazz’ own 57% shooting.

Second Quarter

The Jazz went on a quick 5-0 run with Kevin Durant getting a rest (Nurkic, Gordon, Goodwin, Watanabe, Little), while the Jazz came back with 3 starters (Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, Talen-Horton Tucker), joined by Keonte George and Kris Dunn.

This Suns group hasn’t played together, so their rotations are still a bit mucked up. That will happen for a few weeks I believe.

Luckily Eric Gordon has decided to be ON FIRE and poured in 8 quick second quarter points to help the Suns maintain a 49-41 lead over the Jazz )until KD got back into the lineup.

When KD came out, the whole team kept playing at a high level even without KD doing all the work by himself. They outscored the Jazz 17-9 the rest of the way. Looks like the coaches figured some things out.

At the half, the aggressive Suns led in scoring (66-50), points in the paint (32-26), free throws (11-4). fast break points (11-2), three point attempts (20-17), assists (14-11) and bench points (19-16). Eric Gordon leads all scorers with 21 points, and Kevin Durant leads all players in assists with 5.


The Suns celebrated their 15-man Ring of Honor to thunderous applause from the huge crowd. Everyone was here, including surviving of those who resting in peace. Such a cool sight. And finally, after a couple of year of being rando digital flashbys, the Ring, in the form of banners not dissmilar to the pennant banners in the corners, is now being permanently displayed prominently along the south rafters of the arena.

Book greeted every single RoH as they took the floor at halftime. Here’s Book with Nash.

Second Half

The Suns came out hot with a 11-0 run and stretch the lead to 77-50 and soon later 83-55. All cylinders were spinning now.

GRAYSON ALLEN led the charge this time with aggression on both ends, rebounds and steals to fast breaks and and a couple threes. He quickly poured in 12 points in the first six minutes of the second half. HE’S NO LANDRY SHAMET AFTER ALL!!! THANK GOD!!!!!

Suns up 85-57 with 6:21 left in the third and the Jazz are calling a timeout.

Here’s a tweet from a really good Jazz beat reporter.

Durant is definitely not the focus of attention in the Suns offense on this night, but he’s still Kein Durant. He’s got 24 points on 8-10 shooting, 7 assists and 4 rebounds with the Suns leading 98-68 late in the third. Grayson Allen now has 17 points and Eric Gordon has not even had to score this half (still the 21 from halftime). Jusuf Nurkic has a well-rounded 10/6/7 line versus the celebrated Walker Kessler’s 2/1/4 line.

The Big Three were definitely enjoying watching this blowout.

Suns lead 106-78 after three quarters.

The rest of the game was just a play-it-play out game with the deep benches on each side.

Suns win 126-104.

Last thoughts:

(In Chandler Bing voice)

Could it BE a better Arizona pro sports night? Not only did the Suns win but the Arizona Diamondbacks came back to tie up the World Series — their first since 2001! — and now come home for Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday home games to try to take the series lead (or hell, why not even close it out right here on Thursday!)

The Suns will be playing on Tuesday night next door, so it’s gonna be pretty crazy downtown this week, and then the Suns play on Thursday. Both games against the San Antonio Spurs and phenom Victor Wembanyama. Not an easy team to beat, especially when Wemby can be guarding the paint and get out to block a three in a matter of one step. I encourage you to check that out when you’re not watching the Dbacks. The Suns should win the games — the Spurs aren’t that great overall — whether Booker/Beal come back or not.

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