Entering Saturday’s tilt with the Phoenix Suns, the Utah Jazz had already lost to Phoenix twice in November. They also came into the game 0-9 on the road. Both streaks were snapped as the Jazz’s energy, stellar shooting and team balance led them to an impressive and much-needed 112-104 win in the Valley of the Suns.
In the second half of a home-and-away set with Phoenix, it was Utah’s turn to play the role of victors. Despite having to travel for a road game that started less than 22 hours after Friday’s game ended, the Jazz were able to control the tempo for much of the outing. They used hustle and sheer effort to garner a well-fought win.
Utah is now 3-15 and has won two of the past three games.
Stellar shooting and balance: One evening after Phoenix blistered the nets, it was Utah that enjoyed perhaps its best shooting evening of the young season. Much like Friday’s outing, the Jazz came out firing on all cylinders, but this time, they were able to sustain it for 48 minutes.
Seven of the nine Utah players who saw time shot 50 percent or better from the field. When the final horn sounded, the Jazz connected on 39 of 76 shots from the floor, good for a 51.3 percent mark. Utah also hit nine of 18 from beyond the arc, with five different individuals making at least one three. And after struggling from the charity stripe all season long, the Jazz managed to go 25 of 29 from the free-throw line — 86.2 percent.
The 112 points constituted a season best for Utah and was the third time it had eclipsed the century mark. Seven players hit double-figures (with an eighth who had eight points) led by rookie point guard Trey Burke’s career-high 20 points. Coincidentally, eight players are now averaging more than nine points per game.
Odds and ends:
• Burke hit four of six three-pointers, but only two of nine two-point attempts. Still, his second-half shooting was integral to Utah’s win.
• In a losing effort, Phoenix also had a nice shooting evening. It hit 12 of 27 from downtown.
• All five Utah starters enjoyed a positive +/- mark.
• Alec Burks had one of his most well-rounded games of the season, with 13 points, five assists, three rebounds and just one turnover in 32 minutes. He picked his moments to attack the basket and his moments to set up his teammates.
• Veterans John Lucas III, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush did not play. Rookie center Rudy Gobert had his second consecutive DNP-CD.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN.com's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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