WHAT A GAME
The Suns were in it. Jazz was in it. CROWD was in it. The best I’ve felt at a game in a long, long time.
The whole other half was a dogfight. Big shot after big shot. Offensive rebound on key points from both teams. Most of the fourth quarter was a game with a possession.
Deandre Ayton was HUGE in the fourth quarter with several offensive rebounds to keep the Suns alive.
When Jae Crowder hit a three to bring the Suns up to 100-96, Crowder and the crowd had to.
The Suns had a three-point lead with less than 30 seconds left, but somehow the edgy Devin Bookers floated out and Donovan Mitchell drained a game-tying three with 1
Suns bold. 10.4 seconds left. Booker misses the buzzer. OT inbound.
Of course, to start OT, Booker makes the short shot while Mitchell rings the three-point attempt. The Suns held a 3-6 point lead throughout the fourth quarter and went down to the lead again with a 114-110 lead with 24.2 seconds left in the OT after a Chris Paul miss. Jazzbold. Two quick points. Booker misses a free throw and it’s Jazz ball with 10.6 seconds left, down three.
115-112 Sol. Jazzbold. Must prevent the three. The Sun makes a mistake before the shot and gives us two to Donovan Mitchell. Phew. Do one of two. Suns up 115-113, must commit free kick … Chris Paul.
Paul changes one.
Fans cheer ‘na na NA nam na na NA na, hey hey hey goodbye’
Paul changes to second place.
GAME. 117-113 Sol.
The Sun’s first game, which allowed as many as 5,500 fans in the arena, sounded like a playoff roar. Great props for Suns fans in the building, they really showed up with energy in this one. You could hear swell cheers at every game.
- Deandre Ayton 18 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals and giant fourth quarter player
- Devin Booker 35 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
- Chris Paul 29 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds
HUGE games from Sun’s best players.
How it happened
The Jazz scored the game’s first team, but the Suns responded with a 13-0 run that got the crowd and Utah Jazz coach pretty hot.
Jazz coach Quin Snyder responded with a timeout to pick up a few subs to send a message to the Jazz starting five to get out flat. Favors replaced a non-existent Ruby Gobert, and Joe Ingles came in for an ineffective Mike Conley Jr. These changes broke the Suns spell and triggered a 6-0 Jazz race in which the Suns missed 4 equally easy jumpers.
I like how confident Ayton plays in this one. He is definitely THERE at every game. When he checked out for a break, he went with 4/2/1 to Goberts 2/0/0.
But then Jazz’s second unit – encouraged by Gobert and Conley’s return to Saric and Payne this time – commanded the Suns and forced miss to jumper after jumper. When the Jazz took the lead, 21-20, the Suns were down to 38% shooting. Sun’s shooting fallout coincided with Chris Paul’s rest period. In addition, Devin Booker had 5 turnovers in the first quarter alone and missed 5 out of 6 shots. It is not good.
The Suns woke up again in the second quarter and took a 36-29 lead on yet another big Chris Paul period. That man knows how to play in big games.
This time, the Suns kept momentum, even after Paul took another break, going 43-32 on a Cam Payne three and Booker pull-up in transition. It helps that Utah is 3-21 on three so far. At the very least, we can say they’re all challenged by the Suns defense, which must happen, otherwise Utah will blow you out.
The Suns, led by a now hot Devin Booker, take half lead 51-40 by simply playing their game and winning more games than they lose, making their own luck.
- Solen at 51-40
- Chris Paul 13/3, Devin Booker 16/1, Ayton 8/3 with 2 steals and a block
- Booker and Paul have so far taken half of the Suns shots (21 out of 42)
- both teams are bad at three: Utah 3/22, Suns 3/12
- Suns lead in FTs: 10/12 vs. 3/5
Donovan Mitchell came out on five quick points to start the second half, but the Suns held on and pushed the lead back to nine on an Ayton finish.
On the next possession, the Suns Jazz stopped twice but could not secure possession, and eventually Mitchell hit a three. hmph.
The Suns and Jazz traded blows throughout the third quarter. It became physical. As Dario said foreplay, this could be a bar fight. The Suns and Jazz are top three on defense for a reason and they show it to each other.
Eventually, though, Utah got the lead, made a pair of threes and got some stops at the other end. In the end, the Jazz poured 38 points in the third quarter alone after scoring only 40 in the first half.
The Suns took the lead back in the beginning of the fourth, 84-81 on a Craig three and Ayton slam.