For the 2nd time in 3 nights, the Utah Jazz faced off with the Phoenix Suns in the Delta Center.
After a tough loss on Friday night, the Utah Jazz looked to get back at the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. A Sunday night home game for the Utah Jazz? For the first time since 2001? The breakneck pace of Friday’s game was gone, replaced by turnovers – LOTS of turnovers. Poor shooting, physicality, and some boneheaded plays.
The Jazz held an opponent under 50% shooting while allowing 140 points?! And the 2nd leading Jazz scorer, with 25 points, was…Talen Horton Tucker? What in the name of Hod Rod Hundley’s ghost is going on here?
It was an exciting game, for sure as the Jazz hung with the Suns, even taking a lead during the 4th quarter before the Suns responded and things got even more interesting.
Phoenix had the ball for the final 18 seconds, but couldn’t convert as the Jazz forced their first overtime game of the season. In overtime, the Jazz had a few good plays but also gave up some open looks that allowed the Suns to take a 123-120 lead with 1:07 remaining.
Once again, Kevin Durant hit a dagger three to try and ice it for the Suns, but Collin Sexton had other ideas – hitting a layup after a Keyonte George miss at the OT buzzer to send it to double overtime!
Through the 2nd overtime, the Jazz stayed with the Suns and even forced a miss with less than 5 seconds, but the Suns corraled the ensuing rebound, and Devin Booker sunk 2 free throws to give Phoenix a 140-137 lead with 0.9 seconds remaining.
The Jazz took a timeout and set up a play for Lauri Markkanen to get the ball for a corner 3, which he was able to get off over Kevin Durant, and the officials called a foul on Durant with no time left on the clock. Phoenix challenged the foul call, and after a near-5 minute review, ruled that Durant had blocked the shot legally before other contact occurred, and thus the game was over, much to a chorus of boos from the Delta Center faithful.
A few thoughts:
Lauri Markkanen was outstanding, coming up with 38 points, 17 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocked shots, in a game-high 50 minutes.
Talen Horton Tucker had his best game of the year, with 25 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 50% shooting in 29 minutes. Strangely, he did not play in either overtime period.
Collin Sexton was efficient and sparked the team in his reserve role, with 18 points, 5 boards, 2 assists, and a steal in 23 minutes. He played in the first overtime but not the second.
The Jazz were much more active defensively through 3 quarters, forcing a lot of Suns turnovers and keeping the game within reach. They will need to repeat this type of effort in the coming stretch of games to get some wins.
The Utah Jazz play next on Tuesday night, at the Los Angeles Lakers in their next In-Season Tournament game.