The Utah Jazz (2-2) dropped their home opener (albeit in the NBA Preseason) to the Phoenix Suns (2-2). This looked like a replay of their first meeting this season, with Dante Exum getting free early and unleashing Rudy Gobert’s offensive abilities. But Utah head coach Quin Snyder sat his already abbreviated lineup at half, and the Suns made their move. Once down by 30, Earl Watson’s club took advantage of the line-ups to get to the line over 20 times in the third quarter alone. Phoenix would win that quarter 38-30, but were still very far back.
Yes, no Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood, or Alec Burks for this entire game. And yes, Snyder sat Joe Johnson, George Hill, and Boris Diaw after the first half. The game was effectively over at that point.
Utah was still in the drivers seat, but Phoenix kept going to the line — at one point getting 10 FTA in 30 seconds of game time. You have to hand it do them, they didn’t give up and found a way to win this game. Archie Goodwin got fouled, missed the second, the Jazz bobbled the defensive rebound, Tyler Ullis got it, passed it to Goodwin, who drove down the lane for a thunderous dunk.
That was the first lead of the game for Phoenix. And the only one they needed. Remarkable. Shelvin Mack had over three seconds to make something happen after the Jazz’ last time-out, but he couldn’t make anything happen. He missed the well defended shot, and the Jazz fans get an inconceivable loss to fret over.
Utah was also without the efforts of Raul Neto and Jeff Withey — meaning we got extended minutes for Marcus Paige, Joel Bolomboy, Henry Sims, Eric Dawson, and even Quincy Ford.
I strongly believe some cuts are happening tomorrow. Getting some playing time for them seems like a prerequisite before that happens.
When Snyder was playing his guys — and that means playing lineups where 4 of his top 10 players were sitting with injuries — Utah dominated. Dante was fast. Gobert was amazing. Joe Johnson started getting cooking. Hill was all over the play. Guys like Chris Johnson and Joe Ingles were doing their things.
It’s a loss. But Dennis Lindsey and Quin Snyder got the data they needed to make the next steps for this roster.
I’m not going to look at the box score. Seriously, 106 fouls in a 48 minute game? Awful.