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Five Things to Watch For in #PHXatUTA

Phoenix leaves the Valley of the Sun to visit Swat Lake City

NBA: Preseason-Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Well, here we are, fresh-off a crazy game against the Flopsangeles SobCity Los Angeles Clippers. I don’t know about the rest of you dunkers, but I’m with Amar on this one:

Yeah, it’s preseason and yeah, it doesn’t count, but a win is a win, especially when the Jazz beat one of the most annoying teams in basketball. Now, with the preseason half over, we set our sights on Earl Watson, Mehmet Okur, and the Phoenix Suns. After winning their first game, the Suns dropped two straight against the Jazz and Trail Blazers, respectively, allowing over 100 points in each game. With those things in mind, let’s (switches to Boler voice) look at some keys to tonight’s matchup:

  1. The Three-Point Shot:

In their game against the Blazers, the Suns shot a respectable-ish 6-18 from beyond the arc, with no one player making more than one except for Jared Dudley, who made two. The Jazz are shooting a putrid 7-30 in the last two games combined. Usually, in an NBA game, an average of 15 3PA per game isn’t going to cut the mustard. Quin Snyder knows this, so watch for the Jazz to move some of Rodney Hood’s long two-pointers back a few feet.

2. Turnovers:

In the last two games, the Jazz have turned the ball over a whopping 43 times and given their opponents 41 free-throw attempts (although the referees didn’t help their cause against the Clips). I get that they’re still trying to shake off the cobwebs and figure out defensive rotations, but in order to win games the Jazz will have to put the clamps down. Rudy, Withey and Boris Diaw all found themselves in foul trouble last night, which simply can’t happen with regularity in the regular season.

3. Devin Booker:

Boy, did Devin Booker have himself a night against the Blazers, putting up 34 points on 15-23 shooting, with only six of them coming from the free-throw line or beyond the three-point line. His line reveals a troubling story for his teammates, though: the rest of the starters scored 31 points on 31 shots. Ouch. Bear in mind that there are other Suns who are more than capable of scoring, such as Eric Bledsoe, but if the Jazz guards can shut down Booker like they did in game 1 then they should have no problem winning the game. Dante, Hill and Hood provide more than enough speed and length to do just that.

4. Da Vetzz

Have I mentioned that it’s only preseason yet? Okay, good. In light of this, we’ve seen flashes of how good Boris Diaw, George Hill and Joe Johnson are. However, they are almost certainly not giving 100% out there, and that’s fine. Look, when a player has logged 1,143 regular season NBA games as Joe Johnson has, it’s understandable that he’d want to take it easy in preseason. Diaw and Hill aren’t far behind him, either. Instead of looking purely at stats, look for the basketball decisions that these guys make, like when Diaw was goading Blake Griffin into silly fouls last night. That was was a thing of beauty.

5. This:

I’ve been a Joel Bolomboy fan since he was a freshman at Weber State during the 2012-2013 season. As I watched him as a senior, I maintained that he was a mixture of rookie Paul Millsap and a muscular Jeremy Evans with a better shot. He certainly impressed in his limited minutes last game, and will hopefully log some more tonight. Another player that I will be watching for is Marcus Paige. He showed some promising skills in summer league, and it would be fun to see what he can do against better talent. Not holding my breath, though.

At any rate, it should be a good one, Jazz fans. See you all on twitter and/or the game thread!