10/9 Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns: Keys to the Game

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 6: Rudy Gobert (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 6: Rudy Gobert (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Utah Jazz Ekpe Udoh Derrick Favors Phoenix Suns
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – OCTOBER 6: Derrick Favors #15 and Ekpe Udoh #33 of the Utah Jazz high five during the game against the Phoenix Suns on October 6, 2017 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Key #2 – Shore Up on the Perimeter

One of the biggest concerns defensively for the Utah Jazz this preseason has been the number of open three-pointers they’ve given up. Against the Sydney Kings and Maccabi Haifa, it didn’t hurt them all that much to sag off on the perimeter as the players on those teams weren’t nearly as talented as the Jazz or any NBA squad.

However, now that Utah has moved past those international teams and is facing legitimate NBA skill and shooting, leaving the three-point line undefended is undoubtedly a recipe for disaster. Although the Jazz dominated the Suns in nearly every aspect of the game, Phoenix had the edge in three-point shooting and they were able to convert at a very efficient clip of 48.1 percent.

This is a trend that Utah absolutely has to buck. The Suns are a decent three-point shooting team, but the Jazz’s perimeter defense should be able to do a much better job. If they were to give some of the looks they gave to Phoenix to, let’s say, the Golden State Warriors, there’s no doubting that Utah would be overrun in landslide fashion as they would likely allow such an elite opponent to convert at an even higher clip than the Suns did on Friday.

Therefore, as the Jazz look to not only come away with a win on Monday, but also establish a much-needed defensive trait for the entire upcoming season, it will be vital that they make it a point to shore up their perimeter defense moving forward.