Game #2 Recap: Suns 87, Jazz 84

Christian Petersen

Eric Bledsoe's fourth quarter and game-winning shot propel the Suns past the visiting Jazz.

Well, I suppose we ought to get used to this.

For the second straight game -- the only two games so far this season -- the Jazz have battled down to the wire, only to lose in the final minute.

Gordon Hayward's 3-pointer with 23 seconds left tied the game at 84, but Eric Bledsoe dribbled down to the final second and answered back with a three of his own -- right in Hayward's face -- as the Suns defeated the Jazz 87-84 on Friday night in Phoenix.

The Jazz opened the game poorly, but Hayward kept the team close with 9 first-quarter points. Then Enes Kanter led the way with 10 second-quarter points as the Jazz outscored the Suns 23-14 to close the half with a 46-43 lead.

Suns point guard Goran Dragic left the game in the third quarter after a midair collision with teammate Markieff Morris, but Bledsoe took over in the fourth, scoring 17 of his 18 points in the final stanza.

Kanter was the high scorer for the Jazz, finishing with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 1 assist. Hayward nearly had a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists and 1 steal.

Three Positives

  • It took him 22 shots to get his 20 points, but Kanter was active throughout the game, often out-muscling or sneaking past the Suns big men for offensive rebounds (a ludicrous 10 of his total 12 boards were offensive). His energy was encouraging, as was his ability to play 38 minutes and only pick up 4 fouls.
  • Alec Burks did more Burks things, scoring 15 points on 9 shots and rediscovering his outside shot. He hit on several long jumpers in addition to his usual array of slashing layups.
  • Jamaal Tinsley looked better than in Wednesday's opener against the Thunder. He tallied 4 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds and 1 steal in 17 minutes. He should be in line for more court time soon, especially because...

Three Negatives

  • ...John Lucas III was pretty bad. He finished with 5 points (on 10 shots), including 1-6 on three-pointers, with only 1 assist in 31 minutes. While he mostly played off the ball, letting Hayward run the offense early, he simply doesn't deserve to be out there if he can't knock down open threes.
  • Outside of Burks, the Jazz bench was abysmal, outscored 35-20 even with Burks' contributions. Familiar face Dionte Christmas (who played on the Jazz summer league team in Orlando) was especially active, scoring 9 points with 4 rebounds.
  • Though he had a strong game overall and nearly sent the game to overtime, Gordon Hayward disappeared for a long stretch in the second half, conceding offensive possessions to Burks and Kanter. The Jazz offense is at its best when Hayward gets touches, even if he doesn't end up taking the shot.

A quick turnaround for the Jazz, as they return home to face the Houston Rockets on Saturday night. See you then.

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