SALT LAKE CITY — The Thanksgiving respite briefly looked like it rejuvenated the Utah Jazz, but then, like turkey settling in, Utah slowed down and the stellar start was quickly erased and forgotten as the Phoenix Suns put on an offensive showing at EnergySolutions Arena.
The Suns emerged victorious with the 112-101 win Friday night in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated.
The Jazz jumped out to a lightning quick 9-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. The Suns eventually settled in and shot their way to a 31-18 second-quarter advantage and never looked back.
Phoenix tallied 95 points through three periods and coasted the rest way from there. Utah made a nice attempt in the fourth quarter, but never seriously threatened.
Phoenix and Utah entered the season as two teams pegged to struggle in the very competitive Western Conference. As things currently stand, led by former Utah Jazz player and assistant coach Jeff Hornacek, the Suns are one of the NBA’s biggest surprises at 9-7. The Jazz, on the other hand, sit at 2-15 with a tough stretch ahead (seven of the next eight games are away from EnergySolutions Arena).
Offensive juggernaut: The Phoenix franchise has always enjoyed a history of very fluid, high-scoring offenses. Even with a rookie coach and a drastically different line-up with many new faces, the current Suns squad is carrying on that legacy.
Friday night, the Suns were firing on all cylinders. While its characteristic three-point was not falling like usual, Phoenix shot 54.7 percent for the night. The Suns managed to make 33-of-50 shots (66 percent) inside the arc.
Spurred on by Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, the Suns were aggressive in taking the ball to the basket. Their efforts got them to the free-throw line where they connected on 22-of-25 shots.
Six Phoenix players scored 13 or more points, led by Markieff Morris’ game-high 23 points.
This and that:
* A pair of players made their returns for Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin: center Andris Biedrins made his Jazz debut, while Brandon Rush came back after several weeks away. Neither scored.
* Jeremy Evans continues his solid play, hitting 5-of-8 shots for 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench. He is now 21-of-28 (75 percent) from the field this season.
* Trey Burke picked up two early fouls, resulting in a 17-minute stretch for John Lucas III in the first half.
* Center Rudy Gobert was the lone Jazz player on the active roster who did not play.
* With the Golden State Warriors falling Friday, the Jazz would currently possess two lottery picks if the season ended today.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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