It wasn’t just Chris Paul who played well, Devin Booker had a big night scoring 43 points with 12 rebounds and 4 assists. The one-two punch of Paul and Booker is as good as any in the league. It’s a luxury for the Suns that they can let Booker take on the scoring load for most of the game then let Chris Paul take over at the end.
And yet, the Jazz were in this game up till Hassan Whiteside decided to get an offensive foul and then compounded the mistake with a technical. It sealed the victory for the Suns who likely win this regardless.
For Utah, there was a lot to digest. First, Jordan Clarkson had one of those patented Jordan Clarkson nights. To start the game he had fans pulling their hair out with some of the decisions he was making and then he caught fire and was the main reason the Jazz had a chance to win this one. Clarkson scored 26 this game shooting 6/12 from three and creating electricity that nearly helped the Jazz get the upset.
We mentioned him before, but Hassan Whiteside was a mixed bag in this one. At times he looks so disinterested and other times he looks like the elite rim protector/rim roller Jazz fans have seen much of the year. It’s clear he’s better served as Rudy Gobert’s backup but the effort needs to be more consistent. But such is the career for Whiteside. He has the physical tools to be dominant, and at times he is, but there are so many times he looks so unmotivated.
If the Jazz had gotten a big night from Bojan Bogdanovic, they might have won this one. But Bogdanovic is dealing with an injury and it was very apparent. Bogdanovic shot 3/13 from the field and it made things difficult for the team to overcome without his scoring. It’s a shame because Bogdanovic has been playing some of the best basketball of his career before the injury. If the Jazz want any sort of success this offseason they’ll need Bogdanovic to get right. If not, it’s going to be really difficult.
It was an interesting allocation of minutes tonight. Trent Forrest, who left the game late after stepping on a ref’s foot and turning an ankle, looked a little tentative at times. That said, he looked like his solid self with good defense and confidence on the offensive end. We also saw 11 minutes for Danuel House. House brings shooting and defense and size. All things the Jazz need. It’s clear that 11 minutes at this point is not enough for House. When he’s on the floor it brings a palpable impact. Maybe that’s because the instincts to keep your man in front of you haven’t been driven out of him yet so players drive to Rudy Gobert.
With all that’s going on with the team, it’s encouraging they’ve been able to keep up with the Suns without their two best players, but they need Gobert and Mitchell to come back firing, because the next month of basketball is a rough stretch of schedule. If the Jazz aren’t careful, they’ll see their position in the standings drop even more.