The Suns liked it. The Jazz liked it. The CROWD was interested. The best I’ve felt in a game in a long, long time.
The whole second half was a dog fight. Great shot after big shot. Offensive rebounds at key points for both teams. Most of the fourth quarter was a one-possession game.
Deandre Ayton was HUGE in the fourth quarter with several offensive rebounds to keep the Suns alive.
When Jae Crowder hit a three to put the Suns up 100-96, Crowder and the crowd went wild.
The Suns held a three-point lead with less than 30 seconds to go, but somehow Devin Booker’s float overflowed and Donovan Mitchell exhausted a game-tying 3-pointer with 10.4 seconds left.
Ball of suns. 10.4 seconds left. Booker misses the bell. Incoming OT.
Of course, to start overtime, Booker DOES the short throw while Mitchell rings the 3-point attempt. The Suns held a 3-6 point lead throughout the fourth quarter, going all the way down again with a 114-110 lead with 24.2 seconds remaining in overtime after an error by Chris Paul. Jazz ball. Two quick points. Booker misses a free throw, and it’s Jazz ball with 10.6 seconds left, three less.
115-112 soles. Jazz ball. I have to avoid all three. Suns foul BEFORE THE SHOT, giving us two to Donovan Mitchell. Phew. Makes one of two. Suns up 115-113, I have to commit a foul … Chris Paul.
Paul waves one.
Fans cheer ‘na na NA nam na na NA na, hey hey hey bye’
Paul clicks second.
PLAY. 117-113 soles.
The Suns’ first game that allowed 5,500 fans into the arena sounded like a postseason roar. Big support for the Suns fans in the building, they really showed energy in this one. You could hear the wave of cheers in every play.
- Deandre Ayton 18 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals and great plays in the fourth quarter
- Devin Booker 35 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
- Chris Paul 29 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds
HUGE games from the best Suns players.
As a step
The Jazz scored the first bucket of the game, but the Suns responded with a 13-0 run that heated up the crowd and the Utah Jazz coach quite a bit.
Jazz coach Quin Snyder responded with a timeout to bring in some backups and send a message to the Jazz’s starting five for coming out flat. Favors replaced a nonexistent Ruby Gobert and Joe Ingles replaced an ineffective Mike Conley Jr. Those changes broke the Suns’ spell, sparking a 6-0 Jazz run where the Suns missed 4 straight jump shots.
I like how confident Ayton is playing on this one. It’s definitely THERE on every play. When he looked for a breather, he went with 4/2/1 to Gobert’s 2/0/0.
But then the Jazz’s second unit, fueled by the return of Gobert and Conley against Saric and Payne this time, confused the Suns, forcing failures in jump after jump. By the time the Jazz took the lead, 21-20, the Suns were down to 38% shooting. The Suns’ shooting knockdown coincided with Chris Paul’s timeout. Also, Devin Booker had 5 turnovers in the first quarter alone and missed 5 of 6 shots. That’s not good.
The Suns woke up again in the second quarter, taking a 36-29 lead in another great season from Chris Paul. That man knows how to play in big games.
This time the Suns kept the momentum going even after Paul took another break, going 43-32 on a three from Cam Payne and a pull-up from Booker in transition. It helps that Utah is 3-21 on 3s so far. At least we can say that they are all contested by the Suns defense, what has to happen or Utah will take your breath away.
The Suns, led by a now-hot Devin Booker, take the halftime advantage 51-40 simply playing their game and winning more plays than they lose, creating their own luck.
To the half:
- Suns up to 51-40
- Chris Paul 13/3, Devin Booker 16/1, Ayton 8/3 with 2 steals and a block
- Booker and Paul have taken half of the Suns’ shots so far (21 of 42)
- Both teams poor on 3s: Utah 3/22, Suns 3/12
- Suns lead in FT: 10/12 vs 3/5
Donovan Mitchell came out for a quick five points to start the second half, but the Suns held their ground and pushed the lead to nine in an Ayton finish.
On the next possession, the Suns stopped the Jazz twice, but couldn’t secure possession, and eventually Mitchell hit a three. hmph.
Suns and Jazz traded punches throughout the third quarter. It became physical. As Dario said before the game, this could be a bar fight. Suns and Jazz are in the top three in defense for a reason and they are proving it to each other.
However, Utah eventually took the lead, making a few 3s and making a few saves at the other end. Ultimately, the Jazz scored 38 points in the third quarter alone, after scoring just 40 in the first half.
Suns took the lead early in the quarter, 84-81 with a three from Craig and a slam from Ayton.