After two blowout preseason wins over over foreign opponents—the Sydney Kings and Maccabi Haifa—the Jazz got another win on Friday night, this time against an actual NBA team.
Final score: Jazz 112, Suns 101.
Utah’s offense was a picture of balance—eight Jazz players scored at least eight points as the team forced turnovers, grabbed offensive rebounds, and pushed the ball up the court after every Phoenix miss.
Rodney Hood and Alec Burks scored 19 points each in the win, while Derrick Favors and Joel Bolomboy had 12 each. Ricky Rubio and Joe Johnson each scored 11 points.
Utah’s victory was costly, though, as guard Danté Exum injured his shoulder late in the first quarter when he was undercut driving to the basket. Exum immediately hopped up and sprinted across the court and straight into the Jazz locker room while holding his shoulder.
Exum had made an immediate impact on the game, dishing out two assists and swiping a steal in only three minutes before he got hurt. He’ll be re-evaluated on Saturday to determine the severity of the injury.
The Suns were visibly frustrated by Utah’s physicality throughout the game. Devin Booker, who finished with 10 points, picked up a technical foul in the second quarter, while Eric Bledsoe committed two frustration/retaliation fouls and then slammed the ball off the backboard late in the first half.
Alex Len and Troy Daniels had 18 points each to lead the Suns, while Tyler Ulis had 14 points and six assists in the loss.
Burks came off the bench and immediately drilled a three and then grabbed a steal and threw down a breakaway slam. After a Phoenix timeout, he rose up for a defensive rebound and launched a full-court pass to Thabo Sefolosha for a transition layup. Burks helped the Jazz close the game down the stretch and eventually finished with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting (including 3-for-4 from 3-point range), six rebounds and two steals in 19 minutes.
The Jazz used an 8-0 run late in the first quarter to take the lead for good. Favors put in a bucket; guard/forward Taylor Braun, who was hand-picked (by Phoenix head coach Earl Watson) to come off the bench and shoot free throws after Exum was injured, drilled both freebies; Donovan Mitchell had a layup; and Johnson drilled an 18-foot jumper. The Jazz proceeded to outscore the Suns 37-24 in the second quarter and take a 16-point lead into the half.
The Suns whittled Utah’s 21-point lead down to two late in the third quarter before Rubio drilled a 3-pointer and Burks made a tough transition layup (after the Jazz won a crazy scrum for the ball on the defensive end). Early in the fourth quarter, Mitchell canned a jumper and then Bolomboy grabbed an offensive rebound and converted a three-point play to give Utah an eight-point lead.
Rubio made his first field goal of the preseason (a 3-pointer from the wing) with 4:05 left in the second quarter. Utah’s new point guard had missed his first 13 shots over nearly two and a half games.
Even though Phoenix outshot Utah on a percentage basis (.432 to .412), big advantages in offensive rebounds (19-4) and forced turnovers (20-14) led to Utah taking WAY more shots than Phoenix. The Jazz attempted 97 field goals to Phoenix’s 74.
Utah’s dominance on the glass led to 26 second-chance points. The Suns managed only two second-chance points.
Coach’s Quote of the Night
“[Offensive rebounding] is something we should be able to do this year, especially if we’re able to push the ball and attack the rim. … If we’re shooting the ball at the rim or in the paint, a lot of times a missed shot is just as good as a pass.”
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Jonas Jerebko (hamstring) and Raul Neto (quad) did not play for the Jazz. … Rudy Gobert finished with nine points, 12 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in 22 minutes. … Daniels shot 5-for-6 from 3-point range, while the Suns shot 13-for-27 (48.1 percent) as a team. … Mitchell, who filled in as the backup point guard once Exum left the game, shot only 3-for-16 from the field in 26 minutes. … Bolomboy did not miss a shot, shooting 4-for-4 from the field (including one 3-pointer) and 3-for-3 from the line. … Utah outscored Phoenix 50-32 in the paint.
The Jazz will hit the road for their final two preseason games, with their next matchup coming on Monday against the Suns in Phoenix. Tipoff is set for 8:00pm MT.