Blog: Jazz Drop First In-Season Tournament Game To Suns

Nov 17, 2023, 10:44 PM

Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton defends Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns...

Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton defends Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns (Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz fell to 2-1 in In-Season Tournament play after their 131-128 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Friday.

Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 37 points.

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 38 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists.

First Quarter

The Suns jumped out to a quick start getting both Kevin Durant and Devin Booker on the board early.

Keyonte George has been too reticent to shoot shots inside the arch, meaning his first shot every night is invariably a three. He might be better served getting dialed in near the rim early and then moving his game outside.

Phoenix was +11 with Durant on the floor and -8 with him on the bench in the first quarter.

After one the Jazz trailed the Suns 41-38.

Second Quarter

The Jazz second unit backcourt of Talen Horton-Tucker and Collin Sexton got shot happy and forgot to look for Lauri Markkanen.

The two guards combined for six shots and just one make between Markkanen’s first and second field goal attempts of the quarter.

Though the Jazz have played better without Walker Kessler this season, they missed him against Jusuf Nurkic who scored 11 points and grabbed three rebounds in the first half.

George had arguably the best stretch of his young career in the second quarter scoring 11 points on 4-6 shooting to go with two rebounds and assist. The rookie had 13 points at the break.

At the half, the Jazz and Suns were tied at 75.

Third Quarter

The Jazz built a 93-87 lead midway through the third as Jordan Clarkson attacked the Suns by getting into the paint repeatedly.

After a difficult first half defensively it looked like the Jazz finally figured out how to double Durant effectively as he was shot just 1-5 in the third quarter. It’s a very aggressive scheme that pays off when it’s run correctly and is easily exploited when the rotations are late.

The Jazz were +4 with George in the lineup in the third and -7 with him on the bench over the final five minutes of the quarter.

Through three the Jazz trailed the Suns 102-99.

Fourth Quarter

Booker’s best stretch of the game came late in third and early in the fourth quarter as he helped the Suns extend their lead to eight with 8:23 left in the game.

Ochai Agbaji had a difficult task defending both Durant and Booker for stretches but played well even though both All-Stars made difficult shots throughout the night.

Ultimately, the Jazz couldn’t get stops late in the game as Durant knocked down a huge three with 18 seconds left to play to give Phoenix a 129-125 lead.

The Jazz fell to the Suns 129-125.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Blog: Jazz Drop First In-Season Tournament Game To Suns