NBA regular season

Jazz hold off Suns in Western Conference battle

Jazz hold off Suns in Western Conference battle

SCORERS. Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson lead the Jazz in scoring.

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Jazz bank on the trio of Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson, and Rudy Gobert to stymie the NBA-leading Suns

Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 118-114 road victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, February 27 (Monday, February 28, Manila time).

Rudy Gobert tallied 16 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks for the Jazz. Jordan Clarkson chipped in 22 points off the bench.

Utah made 17 three-pointers. Mitchell led the way, making 6-of-11 from the perimeter. The Jazz also outscored the Suns 43-11 in bench points.

Devin Booker tallied 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists to lead Phoenix. Cameron Johnson added 23 points and 5 assists for the Suns. DeAndre Ayton chipped in 23 points and 7 rebounds.

All five Phoenix starters scored in double figures. It wasn’t enough to keep the Suns from suffering back-to-back losses for the first time since late December.

The Jazz led the entire fourth quarter. Mitchell banked in a three-pointer to beat the shot clock with 1:51 remaining. That established a 116-106 lead for the Jazz, who then had to hold off a late rally.

Jae Crowder hit a three-pointer that cut Utah’s lead to 3 with 30.7 seconds left, but Crowder threw a pass out-of-bounds with 2.1 seconds remaining.

The Suns scorched Utah’s defense early and surged out to a 24-10 lead midway through the first quarter. Phoenix made its first 10 shots and scored baskets on 10 of its first 12 possessions overall. Johnson and Ayton combined for five baskets over the first five minutes to provide extra offensive heat for the Suns.

Utah erased the deficit before the end of the first quarter. The Jazz took their first lead of the game when Mike Conley Jr. buried a stepback three-pointer to open the second quarter. Utah eventually built up a 50-43 lead when Bojan Bogdanovic capped off a 7-0 spurt with a pair of baskets.

Phoenix got off to another strong start in the third quarter and built an 86-78 lead on back-to-back baskets from Aaron Holiday and Mikal Bridges. The Jazz clamped down defensively, allowing one basket over the final three minutes of the quarter. It opened the door for Utah to reclaim the lead.

Mitchell and Clarkson combined to hit three-pointers on four straight possessions to fuel a 16-3 run that gave the Jazz a 94-89 lead entering the fourth quarter. –