The Utah Jazz defeated the Phoenix Suns 118-91 at home, which gives the team -- and new head coach Quin Snyder -- their first victory of the season, and first career NBA head coaching victory respectively. I only got to see the 4th quarter of this game, and while I missed the previous 36 minutes the box score and play-by-play can fill me in a bit.
Phoenix, right off of beating the San Antonio Spurs, came into town and started throwing Morrises at the Jazz. They scored the first 9 points for the Suns, and forced the Jazz to take an early timeout with 9 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Jazz would then go on a 31-13 run to finish the quarter. And what a quarter it was, Derrick Favors was laying down the law on both ends of the court, and he, combined with Alec Burks, really punched Phoenix in the chest. Favors had 13 1st quarter points, Burks had 10. That's a great one-two punch to start the game off.
The second quarter was a reversal of fortune, with the Suns putting up 33 points on the Jazz. Rodney Hood is going to have to be a big scorer for the team's second unit and so far this season has been missing the shot we fell in love with -- the three. He would go 0-3 from the outside in this game, starting with misses against the Suns second unit. And outside of Dante Exum 's garbage time showmanship (steals, assists, and wow plays) I think it's fair to say that these two rookies will get better, but they're not quite there yet. On the second unit we did get to see Rudy Gobert and Trevor Booker lay down the law, as I predicted in the preview.
The Jazz bigs would have their way, and Utah led 59-55 at the half.
Halftime came and went and then it became the Gordon Hayward show. When the game was at its' most critical he took over and gave Jeff Hornacek 14 points and 3 rebounds in the quarter. He wasn't a one-man show, but he did enough shot making to make Team USA second guess their roster, even after winning the World Cup. The Jazz lead by a large enough margin that the bench could sail the team home from there, and nearly did.
The fourth quarter, what I actually watched, was our younger guys on the bench figuring things out a little more, playing with a comfort zone, and doing good things. Snyder would put in the starters (minus Enes Kanter, and with Trevor Booker instead) for three minutes in the middle of the fourth and then it was extended garbage time.
Good solid win for the Jazz.
- The Jazz got that monkey off their back, and won their first game -- and it was a blowout win at home.
- Free Throw shooting was key. Utah went 27-33 from the line, that's 82%. If the Jazz shot like they 'normally' would then they leave enough points at the line and the Suns are still in this instead of waiving the white flag in the 4th quarter.
- Big games from the big money boys: Favors had 32/9/1/2/2, Hayward had 24/10/3/1, and 3 threes, and Burks had 10/6/3/0/1, while going 6/6 from the FT line. Alec was also a +20 in +/- and started the fourth and kept the team on track.
- The Game had to end
- Alex Len had 4 rebounds, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 blocks. How you gonna let Len have a career game against you?
- Enes Kanter had yet another sub-par game. He would finish with 3 points and 2 rebounds. If there's a guy on our roster who could be derailed by bad games in a contract year it's the 22 year old. The team is going to have to help him get back on track. It only hurts that Trevor Booker played yet another amazing game off the bench, with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, while going 7/9 from the floor. Ditching Kanter for Booker could leave Kanter in a pit that he can't get out of. Tough choices coming up.
The Utah Jazz play next on Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers back in LA. Maybe Kanter is like the bad guy from that Superman movie, and needs more time in the sunlight? It'll be a fun game, but probably not as fun as this one was!