Despite clearly hoping for a loss, the Suns charged back in the third quarter to pull within four before Utah quickly put them away in the final quarter.
Wesley Johnson scored 22 points; Luis Scola had 20; and rookie point guard Kendall Marshall dished out a career-high 13 assists. But the Suns fell to 23-49 with their fourth straight loss.
This game was better for Phoenix to lose in the grand scheme — not just to improve its lottery position, but also because the Suns will benefit if the Jazz leapfrog the Lakers. If L.A. finishes out of the playoffs, Phoenix gets the Lakers' lottery pick. Otherwise, the Suns will receive Miami's first-round pick.
"I thought we relaxed a little too much," Hayward admitted.
But, Burks pointed out, "We played our best at the end and got the win."
As for Kanter's shoulder, the 6-11 center was all smiles while sporting a sling.
"I'm all right," he said.
Hayward, who had his own shoulder issues earlier this season, shuddered while recalling the injury.
"The shoulder was abnormal for sure, so you knew something was wrong," he said. "You saw guys from both teams looking at their shoulders and checking theirs to make sure it still worked."
Fortunately for the Jazz, they got their game working when it counted, too.
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