The shortened Jazz bench was too short Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Utah’s non-starters were badly outplayed by the Phoenix Suns’ second unit during a 107-105 loss at EnergySolutions Arena.
Led by Michael Redd, who finished with 19, the five players Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry used off his bench scored 46 points. Utah’s non-starters combined for 20 points.
Of course, the Jazz continue to play without injured veterans Josh Howard and Raja Bell. Against the Suns, they also played without guard Devin Harris.
As a result, coach Tyrone Corbin used Derrick Favors, No. 3 point guard Jamaal Tinsley and rookies Alec Burks and Enes Kanter in support of his starters.
As a group, Utah’s non-starters struggled, despite nine points and eight rebounds by Favors, who played 15 minutes.
Said Corbin, “When we don’t get guys stepping up and [producing] big numbers, it looks like the bench is a little short, especially because their bench carried them for a while.”
According to Corbin, the Suns slowed Utah’s second unit with a defense designed to take away Favors and Kanter.
“I didn’t think we executed well offensively,” he said, “… We were standing a little bit too much and they were fighting the post. They didn’t want Derrick or Enes to get it inside. But we have counters and we’ve got to get to the counters quickly. We didn’t do a great job of that tonight.”
Favors, Tinsley, Burks and Kanter were on the floor at the start of the second quarter. In five minutes, the Suns broke a 31-31 tie and grabbed a 44-39 lead.
Those non-starters also played together at the start of the fourth quarter, when the Jazz converted two of seven possessions.
“People have games like that,” said Burks. “Some nights, the shots aren’t going to fall. But we kept fighting. We tried.”
Burks was nine years old when Redd broke into the NBA. He shrugged when asked about the performance by the Suns’ veteran, who has overcome a series of knee injuries to return to the game.
“He’s a scorer,” Burks said. “He was an All-Star before he got hurt. He’s a great player. When a guy like that gets hot, it’s hard to stop him.”
Meanwhile, Corbin remains confident in his bench players.
“We just have to keep plugging away.” he said. “We are who we are. We have who we have. We played the starting group a little bit more tonight but we have to have everyone step up.”
The combined statistics by the non-starters in Wednesday night’s Jazz-Suns game:
Team Min FGs 3s FTs Reb Ast Pts
Phoenix 85 16-35 5-12 9-14 17 7 46
Jazz 64 7-19 0-2 6-8 14 6 20