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Big Takeaways from the Suns Win Over the Jazz in their Home Opener

The (2-1) Phoenix Suns defeated the (1-2) Utah Jazz, 126-104, on Saturday, October 28th. The Jazz were playing on the back end of a back to back. The Jazz defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, 120-118, the night before.

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The Suns were playing short-handed for the second straight game. Bradley Beal and Devin Booker missed this game after both were not available against the Los Angeles Lakers. Beal has yet to play this season while dealing with back spasms. This was the second game missed by Booker as he is dealing with an ankle sprain.

What were the big takeaways from the Suns win?

The Adjustments

In the Suns’ previous game against the Lakers. Los Angeles was able to force 20 turnovers, eight of which were by Kevin Durant. The Lakers made sure to show Durant lots of bodies and made it very tough for him in the fourth quarter.

On this play you see after Jusuf Nurkic sets the pick that both Christian Wood and Anthony Davis crowd Durant forcing him to pass the ball. Durant is not able to see LeBron James who is waiting to pounce for the steal.

The first points of the game against the Utah Jazz came in a similar situation. Nurkic sets the pick and Utah doubles Durant but this time Durant takes a dribble to the left which opens up Eric Gordon for the three and he knocks it down.

Against the Lakers, Durant had two assists and eight turnovers. Last night against Utah, Durant responded with seven assists and only two turnovers. The facilitating of Kevin Durant is what got the Suns going in that first quarter. It is very important for Durant to create for others especially in the absence of Beal and Booker.

Run Suns Run

It is very important in the NBA to get easy buckets as points are hard to come by against a set defense. One way to get easy bucket is in transition. The Suns did not get many of those baskets against the Lakers as they were outscored in fast break points, 16-6. The Suns responded by outscoring the Utah Jazz in fast break points, 23-6.

The best way to create fast break opportunities is to force turnovers. The Suns forced the Jazz into 18 turnovers which led to a lot of those transition opportunities for the Suns.

Grayson Allen and Eric Gordon Are The X-Factors

Grayson Allen scored a combined six points in the first two games of the season. In the first game of the year against the Golden State Warriors, Allen was 0/6 for 0 points. Against the Lakers, Allen went 2/6 for six points. This is simply not good enough for Phoenix to win on a consistent basis especially with Beal and/or Booker missing the game.

Allen was able to get out of his slump in a major way against the Jazz. He went 6/10 from the floor and 3/7 from three for 17 points and this nasty dunk.

Allen has to show up in a similar fashion on most nights for the Suns to win without Beal and Booker playing.

Eric Gordon also struggled in the first two games. He shot 4/16 against the Warriors and 6/16 against the Lakers. Gordon has to be aggressive, that is his role but efficient aggressiveness would be ideal. That’s what he provided against the Jazz, going 9/14 for 21 points.

Gordon and Allen are the x-factors for this Suns and will be essential to the team’s success even when Booker and Beal come back.

The Suns played a great all-around game against the Utah Jazz. Now it has to be mentioned again that the Jazz were on the back end of a back to back. They are also not expected to be a championship contender like the Lakers are. The big question coming out of the last two games for the Suns is can they continue to do the things they did well against Utah, against the best in the league?

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