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Suns Lead Jazz 61-56 at Halftime in Rematch Game

© Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
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The Phoenix Suns (6-6) are leading the Utah Jazz (4-8) 61-56 at halftime in Utah after a big second quarter shooting the ball, but sloppy play overall.

This is the second straight meeting between the two teams after the Suns defeated the Jazz 131-128 on Friday in an NBA In-Season Tournament Game. Kevin Durant hit a dagger three-pointer all net to seal the victory for Phoenix and finished with 38 points on 6-of-8 shooting from deep, nine rebounds and nine assists in this game. Booker had a career-high 15 assists to go along with 24 points.

This game looked like it was going to be a blowout early for the Suns, but Jordan Clarkson went off for Utah, willing them back into the game several times and finishing with 37 points. Others like rookie Keyonte George also stepped up big for Utah. In total, both teams shot over 50% from the floor and combined for 150 points in the first half.

Yuta Watanabe (left quad contusion) was ruled out for the Suns this game, joining Bradley Beal and Damion Lee. Walker Kessler continues to be out for the Jazz.

Here’s how all of the action has unfolded tonight:


Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker, Eric Gordon, Grayson Allen, Kevin Durant, Jusuf Nurkić

Utah Jazz: Keyonte George, Jordan Clarkson, Ochai Agbaji, Lauri Markkanen, John Collins

First Quarter

The Jazz started off getting good looks right away and took an early 7-2 lead highlighted by two blocks less than two minutes into the game, forcing a Suns’ timeout. Phoenix did not look good on both sides of the ball, showing little to no effort.

Durant got on the board with a jumper out of the timeout. Suddenly, it was 9-9 after a layup by Grayson Allen and a nice assist from Booker to Eric Gordon for a wide-open three with 8:58 to go in the quarter.

This opened up a 12-1 run which included seven points by Durant, and the Suns were up 16-10 with 7:17 left after a Booker dunk.

With Watanabe being out this game, Nassir Little checked in early for the Suns and swished home a three and then had a big-time dunk to put Phoenix up 21-13 with 6:19 remaining.

This game went back and forth for a few minutes, as the Suns kept the same rotation they had been doing. Phoenix led 28-19 with 2:41 to go in the quarter, as Booker checked back in for Durant. Booker had originally subbed out when Little came in.

After Booker came back, the Jazz went on a quick 6-0 spurt after an and-one by Collin Sexton and a three-pointer by Talen Horton-Tucker. Booker then hit a runner, but Horton-Tucker connected on another three with 43 seconds in the quarter.

Kelly Olynyk tied up the game with a tip-in with four seconds left and Booker missed a three at the buzzer, making it a 11-2 run in total for Utah to end the first.

The Suns and Jazz both turned the ball over six times after Phoenix had nine total Friday, while Utah had eight.

Durant led Phoenix with seven points and three assists, but did have three turnovers, while Jusuf Nurkić had six points and three rebounds. Booker totaled four points and three assists.

The Jazz looked to get Markkanen rolling early, as he ended the quarter with seven points and three rebounds. Horton-Tucker led all scorers with eight points on 3-for-3 shooting.

Second Quarter

The sloppy play continued into the second for the Suns, as Booker had two early turnovers. However the Suns were able to jump out to a 43-37 lead with 8:40 left, as they could not miss their shots, while the Jazz were shooting poorly.

Phoenix started 6-for-6 from the floor, while Utah was 4-for-12 in this stretch. Durant missed the Suns’ first shot with 7:34 left in the quarter shortly after subbing back in.

The Suns continued to keep their foot on the gas, moving the ball beautifully and racking up the assists. Jordan Goodwin had three assists in the first six minutes he played in, as Phoenix led 49-41 with 6:16 left in the half. Goodwin was the only Suns’ player to have not scored at this point.

The lead was extended back to 10 after a fast break layup by Little assisted by Durant with 4:25 go.

Booker checked back in at the 3:45 mark with the Suns up 55-45.

On the first offensive possession, Booker had a dribble hand-off to Durant and set a screen for an all-net straightaway three by KD. Durant was starting to heat up with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting at this point.

Markkanen and Horton-Tucker were the only ones keeping Utah in the game, as they were getting easy looks throughout the first half.

The Jazz opened a 6-0 run in the last two minutes, taking advantage of a lot of sloppy turnovers by the Suns.

Phoenix still won the quarter 31-26 and shot a terrific 59% from the field. The Jazz shot only 11% from three.

Durant led the Suns with 16 points, four rebounds and four assists at the half. Nurkić and Allen chipped in eight points apiece. Booker only had four points for the Suns on 2-for-6 shooting, but did have five assists.

Markkanen had 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while Horton-Tucker had 18 points off the bench for the Jazz.

The Suns had 10 total turnovers, and Utah had eight. The Jazz also had 11 offensive rebounds and had 22 second-chance points compared to seven for the Suns.

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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