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Utah Jazz-Phoenix Suns: Instant analysis

By David Smith

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, March 14 2012 11:44 p.m. MDT

Phoenix Suns' Channing Frye (8) collides with Utah Jazz's Derrick Favors in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix.

Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns have long been known for their high-octane rosters. While not as prolific as its predecessors, the current Suns lineup put up points in a hurry Wednesday versus the visiting Utah Jazz. The Suns played to their strength, running and gunning and shooting their way to a 120-111 victory over Utah in an offensively dominated game.

All-Star game defense: The calendar says the NBA’s All-Star game was in February, but Wednesday’s defense — or lack thereof — resembled the midseason affair. While one could easily laud the offense for both teams, a lot could also be attributed to the lack of defense by both teams. Here are some examples:

  • Phoenix was able to score 31 or more points in each of the final three quarters — 98 points total — while Utah managed 29 or more in three quarters, as well.
  • Both teams shot scorching-hot percentages. The victorious Suns won this battle, hitting an impressive 44 of 78 field goal attempts, finishing with a 56.4 percent shooting clip. The Jazz also did well, going 47 for 90 from the floor for 52.2 percent. Both teams made the most of some very wide-open looks at the basket.
  • Much of the damage was done inside, with Utah naturally getting lots of points in the paint — 64. Phoenix had 52.
  • Fast break points were also plentiful, with the Suns slightly outrunning the Jazz, 23-21.
  • Phoenix also was dialed in from long range, torching Utah for nine9 of 19 3-pointers. Check that — two players let the threes rain: stretch center Channing Frye hit five, while swingman Jared Dudley hit the other four. Utah was decent also, hitting five5 of 13.
  • The most defense was played at the free-throw line, ironically, with the Suns shooting just 71.9 percent to Utah’s 70.6 percent.
Bench battle: Utah’s reserves did well, particularly in the first and second quarters. They put 55 points on the board, while the Phoenix bench totaled a mere 24. Each of the Jazz’s bench individuals had nice performances.

Derrick Favors continued his recent solid play, scoring exactly 14 points for the fourth time in the past seven outings. He is becoming more effective with his moves to the basket, going 6 of 8 from the field. Fellow big Enes Kanter only had 11 minutes but filled the stat sheet with eight points and five rebounds in that time.

Gordon Hayward had an unassumingly effective game, with 13 points (5 of 8 FGs). He did not make his usual all-around comparisons, having just one assist and one rebound. C.J. Miles, the subject of many floating trade rumors, had nine points.

Earl Watson was very lively in the first half, getting five assists and three rebounds in just eight minutes. He suffered an ankle injury that caused him to miss the rest of the game. Third point guard Jamaal Tinsley, in Watson’s stead and thanks to Devin Harris’ foul trouble, went 23 minutes — mostly in the second half, where he was integral in orchestrating the offense. He handed out eight assists and scored a season-high 11 points.

Super starters: While Utah won the bench battle, Phoenix dominated with its starters’ play. As expected, Steve Nash was brilliant in leading the charge. His 16 assists set up his teammates in just the proper places on the court, constantly playing to their strengths.

Frye led the Suns with 26 points and nine rebounds. Center Marcin Gortat followed with 25 points himself, hitting 10 of 12 field goals — many off of Nash’s distribution. Dudley also finished with 21.

All in all, they outscored their Utah counterparts 96-56.

David Smith is providing instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage this season. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at mechakucha1@gmail.com or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.

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