The Phoenix Suns opened Friday's game against the Jazz with some blistering shooting, but thanks to some defensive intensity and a little offense of their own, Utah took control of things in the second quarter and won going away, 87-80.
The Jazz had another balanced attack to earn their second consecutive win in 2013, moving their record back to .500 (17-17).
Energy Reigns: A listless and short-handed Jazz squad watched as the Suns made 16 of their first 20 shots — a scorching 80 percent mark. Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin then inserted a new lineup that injected great energy, hustle and execution into the game.
The quintet of Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll, Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks played together for the first time. Based on their individual and collective performances, they may get some more court time together. Behind some scrappy defense, they quickly erased an 11-point Phoenix lead.
Of particular note was the usage of a Hayward/Burks backcourt, with the latter admirably filling the role of point guard. The last time Burks had played the lead guard position before Friday was during the preseason.
• After its scintillating start, Phoenix cooled down considerably. The Suns connected on just 18 of their last 55 shots, a mere 32.7 percent clip.
• Likewise, after a 31-point opening stanza, Phoenix managed just 49 points in the final 36 minutes. This included a mini burst of scoring during garbage time.
• Fourty of Utah’s field goals came off assists, a nice 67.5 percent mark.
• Phoenix actually won the battles of the boards (40 rebounds to Utah’s 38) and blocked 10 shots. It was the Suns' 20 turnovers that contributed heavily to their downfall. The Suns' bench especially struggled, coughing the ball up successive times during a crucial second quarter.
• Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson tallied just two combined points, but doled out 13 assists (and three turnovers).
• There were only 34 personal fouls, resulting in 20 total free throws for the night.
• The Jazz bench also bested its counterparts, outscoring the Phoenix reserves 32-14.
• Al Jefferson came out firing, with 11 of his 17 field goal attempts coming in the first 11 minutes of the game.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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