The Utah Jazz have the Phoenix Suns on Thursday and to get the win, they have to keep an eye on Kevin Durant and these other players.
The Utah Jazz will continue their In-Season Tournament on Friday as they take on the Phoenix Suns. This will mark the third game in the Group Play portion of the tournament. The Jazz are 2-0 so far, having defeated the Portland Trail Blazers and the Memphis Grizzlies in back-to-back Group Play games. The Suns and star Kevin Durant will mark their third encounter, and arguably their toughest test so far.
Beating the Suns would not only raise the Jazz to 5-7 on the season but would put them on a collision course with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are 2-0 in Group Play and have the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday as well. If the Jazz and Lakers keep winning, then their showdown on Nov. 21 will be for all the marbles. Only one team per group is guaranteed a spot in the next round and that could easily be the Jazz if things keep breaking their way.
But to get there, they have to get through the Phoenix Suns first, who have a stellar trio of players. They’re not playing great right now, but they aren’t a deep team and are dealing with a lot of injuries to start the season. Still, the Suns have a trio of players the Jazz should be worried about.
The Jazz are going to have their hands filled with Kevin Durant, who is averaging 30 points per game. Durant is still as good as ever, and he showed that against the Jazz in their first meeting this season, where the Suns led by Durant (and only Durant), demolished the Suns. The Suns won by 22 points without Bradley Beal or Devin Booker. Now the situation is much harder as both should be healthy to go. And with Durant hitting his shots still even at his age, that’s going to be a problem for the Jazz.
Having only played in a handful of games so far, Devin Booker’s numbers seem a bit inflated, but still, the All-Star guard is hitting his shots. He’s averaging over 31 points per game while shooting a whopping 50% from three. The Suns guard has been great when he’s played but he’s only played in three games so far. So Booker may stumble eventually. Hopefully, it’s against the Jazz.
Bradley Beal is a superstar in promotional materials only. He benefited from being on a Washington Wizards team that put too much into him, and now that he’s on another team where he’s not getting 20+ shots a night, he’s not exactly showing his best effort. He’s shooting under 40% from the floor, just 33% from three, and nearly has as many assists per game (3.7) as assists. Still, Beal has a history of going off for some big games, and it’s possible he does just that against the Jazz.