Devin Booker scored 43 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns increased their winning streak to eight with a 105-97 victory over the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, January 26 (Thursday, January 27, Manila time).
Booker scored 21 points in the first quarter, helping the Suns take an early 21-point lead, and then took turns with teammate Chris Paul hitting clutch jumpers down the stretch to thwart Utah’s comeback attempt. Paul finished with 21 points.
Utah absorbed its second loss to Phoenix in three nights and fell for the ninth time in 11 games overall.
Both teams played with irregular lineups.
The Jazz were missing their top two players, as Donovan Mitchell was sidelined due to the concussion protocol for the fifth game in a row and Rudy Gobert missed his second game in a row with a calf injury.
The Suns played without JaVale McGee (knee), Deandre Ayton (ankle), and Jae Crowder (wrist).
Jordan Clarkson picked up some of the scoring slack for the Jazz, putting up 26 points and sinking six three-pointers. Mike Conley contributed 16 points and 10 assists, while fill-in starting center Hassan Whiteside chipped in 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The game was a roller coaster ride, as Phoenix jumped out to a 39-18 lead after the first quarter but was then outscored 30-11 in the second quarter. The Jazz finished the opening half with eight straight points to trim the deficit to 50-48.
The Suns shot 5-for-17 from the floor and 0-for-3 from beyond the arc in the second period.
The Jazz reverted to the first-quarter version of themselves in the third quarter, scoring just 16 points on 5-of-17 shooting while committing five turnovers.
The fourth quarter was the most competitive of the game.
Clarkson scored nine straight Jazz points to help Utah pull within 82-78 with 7:32 to go. The Suns responded and rebuilt their lead to 10, but Utah wasn’t done.
Conley hit a floater and two free throws and then Clarkson made a layup and two foul shots to trim Phoenix’s lead to 92-90 with 3:32 to play. Booker and Paul subsequently added clutch hoops, Booker added four more points and Bismack Biyombo sank two free throws with 49.5 seconds remaining to boost the margin to 104-94. – Rappler.com