Though Phoenix finished on the short end of a 108-97 decision in the Delta Center, Roger Reid's first visit to Utah as an NBA assistant wasn't all bad.
At times, the former BYU coach took delight in watching both teams excel."Then it was like, `Wait a minute,' " said Reid, who used to cheer the likes of Karl Malone, John Stockton, Jeff Hornacek and, yes, Chris Morris.
On Thursday, he helped plot strategy to stop them. It didn't work.
"You just have to give the Jazz credit," Reid said.
Utah never trailed and led by as many as 20 points after capitalizing on matchups early in the game.
"We tried to go small and that hurt us. The small lineup in the first half hurt us," Suns coach Danny Ainge said. "(Adam) Keefe was posting up our guards and we didn't do a good job of rotating our defense. I thought we had really good looks in the first half, but they were making their shots and we weren't."
Phoenix wound up shooting just 41 percent from the field, as compared to 53 percent by Utah. Those misfiring for the Suns included Clifford Robinson (4 of 12), Rex Chapman (5 of 12), Kevin Johnson (0 of 9), Danny Manning (4 of 10) and Dennis Scott (6 of 14).
"I felt like if I'd have been able to give us anything decent, it might have been the difference in the game," said Johnson, who is recovering from a knee injury.
Phoenix, no doubt, could have used a hot hand.
"We cut it to seven (once), there was no damage done, we were in the ball game," Jason Kidd said. The Phoenix point guard finished with a team-high 23 points but handed out just six assists in 41 minutes. "(Then) we just couldn't get a shot to fall for us and they did."
A dunk by Antonio McDyess made it 65-58 with 7:32 remaining in the third period. Phoenix, however, was outscored 22-9 over the next eight minutes as Utah held its largest lead earlier in the fourth quarter.
Though disappointed with his team's second consecutive setback, Ainge hasn't given up hope. The Suns are still a surprising 37-18 on the season.
"I'm not too concerned," Ainge said. "If we weren't able to get quality shots I'd would be."