The Utah Jazz defeated the Phoenix Suns 114-97 Wednesday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Donovan Mitchell led the way for Utah with 26 points, while Phoenix was paced by Devin Booker’s game-high 27.
The Jazz defeated the Suns for the second time this season, with the final two contests between the Western Conference foes set to take place on March 25 and April 3.
Here are three takeaways from the Jazz’s 114-97 win over the Suns
— The Jazz had an uneven performance and nowhere was that more evident than from quarter to quarter. Utah started the game well enough, before a late first quarter rally gave Phoenix the advantage. The Jazz soundly outplayed the hosts in the second quarter, meanwhile, outscoring the Suns 28-16 before taking a 53-43 halftime lead. In the third quarter, Utah was outplayed, however, but the Jazz ultimately utilized a strong fourth period to run away with the win.
— The trio of Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors had standout performances. Mitchell led the way and finished with 26 points on 10 of 18 shooting, a stark departure from his shooting struggles in the Jazz’s loss to Oklahoma City only a few day prior. Gobert, meanwhile, recorded yet another double-double with 18 points and 20 rebounds. As for Favors, the big man added 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
— Utah had a solid enough shooting night in the final tally. The Jazz shot 46.7 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from 3-point land, making 12 of 33 attempts, and 72 percent from the charity stripe. Phoenix was better in nearly every shooting category — the Jazz only edged out the Suns in total shooting percentage — but Utah’s dominance on the boards — 52-35 — proved the difference.
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The Jazz improved to 38-29 on the season and jumped from the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoff standings into seventh place, slightly ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers — the Jazz have a winning percentage of .567, the Clippers .565. Utah trails No. 6 San Antonio by only a half-game, while the gulf separating the Jazz and No. 5 Portland remained firm at three games. Any chance of falling out of the playoff picture remains slim, as No. 9 Sacramento trails Utah by four and a half games.
Thursday, March 14, vs. Minnesota (30-35), 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 16, vs. Brooklyn (36-33), 7 p.m.
Monday, March 18, at Washington (29-30), 5 p.m.