Don't get fooled into thinking the Jazz have fixed their problems when they play inside a building not named Energy Solutions Arena.
That much should be obvious after watching Utah (13-11) offer one of its worst road performances of the season in a double-digit loss in Phoenix against the Suns (9-15). After winning three of its last five road games, the Jazz fell to 4-10 in arenas that are not their home gym.
GUARDS: Mo Williams (4 points, 7 assists, 3 turnovers) wasn't fantastic and Randy Foye (10 points, 3-of-13 shooting) was worse. Foye has shot 30 percent or worse in three of the past five games, all of which have featured at least seven shot attempts from the seventh-year player. Collectively, the Phoenix backcourt duo of Goran Dragic (17 points, 5 assists) and Shannon Brown (6 points, 3 assists) were better. Dragic exceeded his 15-point average for the second time in eight games. GRADE: C-.
FORWARDS: Paul Millsap (12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 28 minutes) clearly outplayed his counterpart Luis Scola (4 points on 2-of-8 shooting, 13 minutes) to the point that it's a wonder why Millsap perhaps didn't play more — at least this particular evening. Or perhaps that should go for other contests: Millsap has shot better than 50 percent from the floor in five of the past six games. The other, he was 7-of-16 and scored 20 points — his lowest amount in four straight contests heading into Friday evening. So yes, why didn't Millsap play more? Perhaps it's because Scola's backup, Michael Beasley, tallied 11 points, three rebounds and three assists in less than 19 minutes. But he did shoot 3 of 9 and didn't overwhelmingly make up for it at the charity stripe (3 of 4). Marvin Williams (11 points on 5 of 8 shooting) proved to be an asset offensively. But Jared Dudley proved to more than outdo his outlays. Dudley's 22 points (on 9-of-12 shooting, not to mention 5 assists and 4 rebounds) were nearly 13 above his season average. GRADE: C.
CENTERS: Al Jefferson's 14 points came at a cost — 6-of-16 field-goal shooting. His 11 rebounds tied for his third-highest in 10 games. Marcin Gortat (12 points, 14 rebounds) slightly outplayed Big Al — and with season averages of 11 points and 7.8 rebounds entering the game, he needn't have. GRADE: C.
BENCH: The Utah bench wasn't the highlight in getting outscored by the Phoenix reserves, 38-33. The Suns' P.J. Tucker was the difference, as the 4.4-points-per-game scorer entering Friday scored 10 on 5-of-8 shooting. With another 21 minutes, DeMarre Carroll (8 points on 4-of-9 shooting) logged his 10th straight game with 19-plus minutes. And Derrick Favors (11 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block in just 17 minutes) once again opened the question as to why he didn't play more. GRADE: C-.
OVERALL: The Jazz offered another road performance featuring 15-plus turnovers (15) and sub-45 percent shooting (40.2), while they managed just 27 percent beyond the arc. True to their typical road form this season, Utah once again allowed players who usually figure less significantly into contests (see Dudley and Tucker) play a critical role in the decision. GRADE: C-.
Rhett Wilkinson attends Utah State University and is the co-founder and an editor of Aggie BluePrint, USU's first student magazine. Previously an intern for the Deseret News, he can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter: @wilklogan
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