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Utah Jazz scorched by Phoenix Suns on the road, 120-111

Published: Wednesday, March 14 2012 10:58 p.m. MDT

Utah Jazz's Jamaal Tinsley (6), Josh Howard (8), and Paul Millsap (24) walk dejectedly back to the bench in the closing moments in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix.  The Suns defeated the Jazz 120-111.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  (Ross D. Franklin, AP) Utah Jazz's Jamaal Tinsley (6), Josh Howard (8), and Paul Millsap (24) walk dejectedly back to the bench in the closing moments in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Jazz 120-111.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Ross D. Franklin, AP)

PHOENIX — With all of the talk of wheeling and dealing going on around the NBA, the Utah Jazz weren't able to trade one thing they'd like to ship elsewhere.

They just can't seem to shake their struggles on the road.

They couldn't get the Phoenix Suns to miss, either, during Wednesday's 120-111 loss at US Airways Center.

"Them guys didn't miss, man," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "We shot 52 percent and lost. They shot 56."

And became the latest home team to pad its stats against the Jazz.

Utah looked like it might be on the right track last week when it beat a pair of subpar squads in Cleveland and Charlotte.

Since then, though, the Jazz have dropped three straight games away from the Beehive State.

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) 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)

This one hurt in multiple ways.

The loss put them into a tie for 10th place in the Western Conference with the Suns at 20-22 and dropped their road record to 5-16.

The setback also saw the Jazz botch a 13-point lead — as Phoenix did its best BYU impression with as much as a 25-point turnaround.

Utah also lost backup point guard Earl Watson with a sprained left ankle.

Thanks in large part to point guard Steve Nash and three of his teammates' hot hands, Utah also lost anything resembling a defense after taking a 30-22 lead after the first quarter.

Over the final three quarters, the Suns had three consecutive quarters of 30-plus points while firing in 98 points — almost exactly how much the Jazz usually give up in an entire game.

Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat, left, of Poland, battles Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) for a rebound in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix. (Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press) Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat, left, of Poland, battles Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) for a rebound in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix. (Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press)

Three Suns surpassed the 20-point mark, including Channing Frye (game-high 26 points), Marcin Gortat (25) and Jared Dudley (21).

Nash contributed 12 points, including two clutch free throws with 22.6 seconds remaining, but he had a 16-assist effort that might've given Jazz fans John Stockton flashbacks.

"Nash is a one-man show," Jefferson said. "And them guys hitting shots with him handling the ball, they're hard to beat."

As a team, Phoenix shot 56.4 percent and hit 9-of-19 3-pointers, including five treys from Frye and four from Dudley. Frye's bombs were especially painful, because the versatile 6-foot-11 power forward was able to stretch the defense and take one of Utah's bigs outside with him.

"They found the open guy every time. They just knocked it down. They shot lights out," Jazz power forward Paul Millsap said. "Dudley didn't miss too many shots. Channing Frye didn't miss. We had to pick and choose our poison."

Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) shoots over Phoenix Suns' Robin Lopez (15) in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix.  The Suns defeated the Jazz 120-111.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  (Ross D. Franklin, AP) Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) shoots over Phoenix Suns' Robin Lopez (15) in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Jazz 120-111.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Ross D. Franklin, AP)

After a great start in which Utah went ahead 35-22, things started going really sour for the Jazz shortly after Watson twisted his left ankle five minutes into the second quarter.

Watson, who had problems with that same foot in February, was escorted off the court with the help of teammates and went directly to the training room for good.

Utah momentarily got its game-high lead of 13 back, but then the Suns ended the half on a tear. Six minutes after trailing by double digits, Phoenix tied it heading into the locker room on one of Frye's long bombs.

Phoenix then outscored Utah 67-58 in the high-scoring second half.

"I thought we panicked a little bit," Corbin said. "We weren't as aggressive on the pick-and-rolls as we were early. We let (Nash) surge dribble and then he was able to get his guys open looks as a result of that."

Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat, of Poland, falls on Utah Jazz's Earl Watson in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix. (Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press) Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat, of Poland, falls on Utah Jazz's Earl Watson in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix. (Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press)

The Jazz dug their way out of a 12-point hole to tie at 93-all, but Frye hit a deep shot and Utah was outplayed in the end on the road once again.

"It's frustrating," Corbin said of the Jazz's road woes. "It's frustrating to not get the one or two plays you're looking for, but it is encouraging that the guys continue to fight."

Corbin hopes the Jazz will bounce back quickly when the host Minnesota tonight.

Millsap and Jefferson each scored 18 points apiece for the Jazz, who suffered from foul problems all night.

Phoenix went 23-for-32 from the free-throw line — compared to a 12-for-17 night for Utah — and Jefferson and Devin Harris sat for extended periods of time with four fouls.

The Jazz obviously weren't thrilled with that discrepancy, but they were more concerned about the Suns' ability to pick apart Utah on the pick-and-rolls and hit open looks.

Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat (4), of Poland, dunks against the Utah Jazz in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Ross D. Franklin, AP) Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat (4), of Poland, dunks against the Utah Jazz in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Ross D. Franklin, AP)

"If they're not missing shots like tonight, it's hard to beat them," Jefferson said, "especially on their home floor."

The Jazz had several bright spots off the bench. Derrick Favors scored 14, Gordon Hayward chipped in with 13 points and Jamaal Tinsley filled in nicely for Watson and foul-plagued Harris with eight assists and 11 points.

Corbin stuck with Tinsley the entire fourth quarter because he liked his "aggressive play."

GAME NOTES: Watson is doubtful for tonight's game against the T-Wolves because of his moderate left ankle sprain . … Former Jazz guard Ronnie Price did not see any action for the Suns. The former Utah Valley standout, who played four years with the Jazz, hasn't played in a game since Feb. 15, in fact. … Corbin and Harris both received technical fouls.

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Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin argues with officials in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Ross D. Franklin, AP) Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin argues with officials in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Ross D. Franklin, AP)

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