No team in the NBA playoff picture has a greater disparity between home and road records than the Utah Jazz. Fortunately for Utah, it plays the majority of its remaining games at EnergySolutions Arena. The Jazz took care of business at home Wednesday, cruising to a 103-88 win over the Phoenix Suns.
While the game was marred by Enes Kanter’s dislocated shoulder in the second quarter, Utah withstood a few decent runs by Phoenix to earn the comfortable victory. Phoenix got it down to four points to start the fourth quarter, but it really did not feel like the Jazz were ever in jeopardy.
Swingman Gordon Hayward set the tone for the Jazz and had a well-balanced game (25 points, six assists, five rebounds). Utah improved its record to 36-36, one game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the Western Conference’s eighth postseason spot.
Offensive Outing: It was immediately clear that this matchup was not going to produce a defensive struggle. Utah held a 19-18 lead less than six minutes into it. Both teams were blistering from the field, but while the Jazz remained consistent throughout the game’s duration, Phoenix cooled down considerably.
There was a lot of evidence to prove Utah’s offensive dominance:
• It hit 44 of 85 shots from the field (52 percent). With Hayward and Randy Foye doing most of the damage, the Jazz also connected on 6 of 15 3-pointers (40 percent).
• Utah assisted on 30 of those 44 made shots — a 68.2 percent clip. Mo Williams paced the Jazz with 10 assists, while Hayward added six dimes.
• The Jazz used their clear size advantage, nearly doubling Phoenix’s points in the paint, 56-32. Throughout the night, Utah effectively employed a solid inside-outside attack.
• Utah also dominated the rebounding battle 46-36, led by Derrick Favors’ 13 caroms.
This and That:
• While Foye, Marvin Williams and eventually Kanter were dealing with some injuries and illnesses, the Phoenix Suns played sans Goran Dragic, Marcin Gortat and Marcus Morris.
• Filling in for Dragic, rookie point guard Kendall Marshall registered career highs in minutes played (34) and assists (13).
• Utah’s frontcourt of Hayward, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson combined to drain 27 of 47 (57.4 percent) of their shots.
• With Marcus Morris out, the Jazz missed their first opportunity to go against he and his twin brother, Markieff.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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