After starting off the In-Season Tournament 2-0, the Utah Jazz were finally met with their first defeat of the event in a close 128-131 against the Phoenix Suns. It effectively takes Utah to a 4-9 record on the year, also netting their fourth-straight loss against the Suns dating back to last season.
It was a thrilling night in a building filled with lots of energy and emotion, but this game proved exactly where the Jazz stand in the NBA. While they remain an exciting up-and-coming talent with a bunch of rising pieces, they just don’t have quite enough to match up with the top talents of the league just yet.
While we’ve seen them put together previous wins against teams like the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers, teams like Phoenix are simply a different beast. They’re built to win these types of close games with experienced players, talent, and coaching; something the Jazz are still in the process of putting together.
When it came down to the crucial moments of this game, we saw Devin Booker and Kevin Durant make big play after big play. There were a few opportunities for the Jazz to get back into control of this one late, but those chances quickly vanished after a late classic Durant three-pointer iced this one to give Utah their eighth loss of the season.
KD put up his third-highest point total of the season with 38, also posting nine rebounds and nine assists. Booker also generated a career-high 15 assists, continuing to show the stout strides he’s made as a playmaker. He also did his usual work putting the ball in the basket, scoring 24 on just under 50% from the field.