PHOENIX — In Wednesday night's loss to the Phoenix Suns, points were abundant for the Jazz (20-22), but even more came to Phoenix (20-22) in perhaps the most run-and-gun game for Utah all season. The Jazz allowed the Suns to shoot 56 percent from the floor, including 9-19 from distance.
Guards: Starter Devin Harris had three turnovers to two assists. Wednesday night, it was Jamaal Tinsley who stole the point guard show on Utah's side. Like he did months ago against Golden State, the veteran made a serious case for more playing time, scoring 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting while dishing eight assists and grabbing three rebounds. Raja Bell and C.J. Miles (combined 6-of-10 shooting) were decent offensively, but Phoenix guards Jared Dudley and Steve Nash joined the club of guards who have burned Utah. Dudley scored 21 points and Nash carved up everyone, tallying 16 assists. GRADE: C-
Forwards: Paul Millsap had 18 points and 10 rebounds but allowed Channing Frye to nearly have his way in the paint, as the University of Arizona alum scored 26 points. Grant Hill scored 12 points opposite Josh Howard's six on 3-of-12 shooting. Gordon Hayward picked up some of Howard's slack, scoring 13 points while playing more than the first-year Jazzman. GRADE: C
Centers: Al Jefferson struggled after displaying an inspiring performance earlier in the week, a game in which he scored 33 points following his grandmother's death. This time, the Mississippi native scored 18 points while enduring some foul trouble. Meanwhile, the Suns' lesser-known Marcin Gortat was dominant, scoring 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Enes Kanter partially made up for Jefferson's more-quiet-than-the-recent-past game with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting in 11 minutes. GRADE: C-
Bench: The Jazz bench outscored Phoenix's by an astounding 55-24, headlined by three players in double figures. Derrick Favors scored 14 points ouside of the output from Hayward and Tinsley. The bench's all-around play — Miles and Kanter included — on a night that the starters were nothing special kept the Jazz in the game. However, Utah reserves sometimes guarded the high-scoring Phoenix starters, too. GRADE: B+
Overall: Though it was fantastic to see the Jazz operate so smoothly on defense — they shot 52 percent from the field and even shot higher than 30 percent from distance — it was nearly painful to see the apparent lack of interest on the other end of the floor. Phoenix was given 32 free-throw attempts compared with the Jazz's 17. Utah needs to learn to play more disciplined in winnable road games. GRADE: C-
Rhett Wilkinson is a journalism and speech communications major at Utah State University. He has previously been an intern for the Deseret News. He can be reached at [email protected] or at Twitter: wilklogan