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Kevin Durant pumped in 38 points and hit a late clutch three-pointer to help the Phoenix Suns defeat the Utah Jazz, 131-128, on Friday, November 17 (Saturday, November 18, Manila time) in Salt Lake City.
Durant, whose trey with 18 seconds left put the Suns up by four, made 15-of-22 shots while grabbing 9 rebounds and dishing out 9 assists.
Phoenix improved to 1-1 in West Group A of the NBA in-season tournament, while Utah fell to 2-1.
Devin Booker added 24 points and a career-high 15 assists for the Suns, who earned their second consecutive victory.
Jordan Clarkson hit five three-pointers and scored 37 points, John Collins contributed 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Lauri Markkanen chipped in 21 points for the Jazz.
Utah lost despite leading by six in the third quarter after falling behind by 14 points in the first quarter.
The Suns held a 124-115 lead with three minutes remaining after a Durant three-pointer.
Ochai Agbaji, Markkanen and Clarkson teamed for an 8-0 run to make it a one-point game with 1:42 left. The Jazz had an opportunity to take the lead after a steal by Keyonte George, but the rookie’s ensuing floater was off.
Durant then hit two free throws, and after a pair of foul shots by Collins made it a one-point game again with 39.7 seconds remaining, hit a deep 3-pointer 21 seconds later.
The Suns scored the game’s first 5 points, took a double-digit lead only 2 1/2 minutes in and went ahead 19-6 after Durant drained a trey to cap a 12-2 run.
After falling behind by 28-14, the Jazz surged back to cut the deficit to three by the end of the first quarter. Durant scored 10 points as the Suns tied their season high for points in a quarter with 41.
Utah’s Collin Sexton made it one-point game early in the second quarter before the Suns went on a 13-3 run to go up by 11 again.
George, who scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half, led the Utah comeback in the second quarter. Collins gave the Jazz their first lead, 70-68, with a tip-in late in the first half.
Booker’s free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining knotted the score at 75-all entering halftime. – Rappler.com