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Devin Booker and the Suns Scorch Jazz on New Year’s Eve

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The Utah Jazz close out 2020 with an underwhelming loss to the Phoenix Suns 106-95

Ambitions were high for Utah Jazz fans as they hoped their beloved team would alleviate some of the misery of 2020 by stomping the Phoenix Suns on New Year’s Eve. The Jazz opened up the game looking engaged both offensively and defensively. Donovan Mitchell asserted his will early on with a quick 4 points and an alley-oop to Gobert. However, the strong start didn’t last long. Jazz offense became stagnant with a lot of standing around and minimal ball movement.

Favors came in and scored a quick 5 points to put the Jazz up 16-15 with just under 3 minutes left in the first. Clarkson followed Favors up with a quick 3 from the corner.

The Jazz finished the first quarter down 1, 22-21 with Phoenix guards outrunning the Jazz for several buckets. Booker led all scorers with 8.

The Jazz continued to regress in the second quarter. Bogey looks lost as if he is still trying to find his way into the season. Jae Crowder made it tough, working hard to deny him the ball. Conley was M.I.A. until ending a 7-0 run with a 3. Neither Conley nor Bogey made much of an impact in the 1st half.

Clarkson looked poised to take over the game after two quick buckets and then stole the inbounds pass, only to collide one of the stripes and losing the ball out of bounds. If the turnover wasn’t enough, Clarkson was also hit with a Tech for pushing off during the collision. Clarkson appeared visibly frustrated and never seemed to regather his mojo, going 1/3 the rest of the half with 3 fouls.

Jazz offense remained stagnant for most of the half. Very little ball movement appears to be the biggest culprit. Bogey, Royce, and even Conley to a degree, need good ball movement to really be effective.

Jazz picked up the offense a little with about 2 minutes left in the half. Mitchell hit a 3 and then followed it with an pick n roll with Rudy resulting in an ally-oop. Not enough, as Phoenix closed the half up 13.

Conley opened up the second half hot with 2 quick 3’s and an assist to Gobert. Royce followed up Conley with a 3 of his own.

Mitchell also picked up steam, adding a couple buckets and dropping a few dimes, including a nice give and go with Gobert. Jazz looked poised to strike a tune.

Unfortunately, the Jazz fell flat and were unable to keep up the pace, and, after cutting the deficit to 5, 67-62, Phoenix went on an 8—1 run. Mikal Bridges killed the Jazz on both ends of the floor.

A layup by Clarkson and a 3 by Ingles kept the Jazz in it, but more sloppy play contributed to another 8-0 run by the Suns. Gobert ended the 3rd with a dunk to keep the Jazz within 13.

Phoenix padded their lead quickly with 2 quick 3’s and another bucket to open the quarter, ballooning the lead to 21. Mitchell started to come alive with a few minutes left, and Conley added a 3 to cut the deficit to 5 with 2 minutes left.

Hope for Jazz fans evaporated as Booker iced the game with 5 unanswered. The Utah Jazz were burned by the Phoenix Suns 106-95 and drop to 2-2 on the season.

Booker led all scorers with 25, shooting 10-17 from the field. Bridges and Crowder each had 16 points both hit 4 from deep. Mitchell led the Jazz with 23 on an inefficient 9-23. Gobert had 18 points and 14 rebounds. Conley added 16. The Jazz have a quick turnaround, as they face the Kawai Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers tomorrow night.

Game MVP

Rudy Gobert is the easy choice here. He scored 18 points off of a very efficient 7-9 from the field. He also had 14 rebounds and a block. I also thought Gobert had the most energy tonight. Nonetheless, the Jazz lost, and no Jazzman really deserves an MVP tonight.

Happy New Year Jazz Fans

While it was a disappointing showing by the Jazz to end the year, we can be sure that 2021 will bring better things. Jazz have always struggled early in the season under Quin Snyder. They’ll go on a run or two later this season that will have Jazz fans salivating at the mouth again. And, well, 2020, in general, shouldn’t be hard to beat.

Happy New Year Everyone! Go Jazz!

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