Final thoughts: Suns 87, Jazz 84
Phoenix • Another close game, another Jazz defeat.But unlike the opening night loss to Oklahoma City, this one felt like it stung a little bit more. Nobody expected the Jazz to beat the Thunder, but in the Suns even on the road the Jazz had a prime opportunity to get into the win column."Every loss stings," Ty Corbin said. "You can talk about effort and growing, but you want to have some success in it."So what happened?First, here's what everybody had to say about the game winner.Gordon Hayward: "I tried to sag off him just a tad. He's a little quicker than I am and he'd kind of shown he'd drive to the basket the whole other part of the game."Eric Bledsoe: "I knew he was playing me to drive so I was going to wait until the clock got really low to shoot it. But I already had it in my mind that I Was going to shoot it. I had planned on it being a three. He dared me to shoot and so I knew I was going to shoot it."Jeff Hornacek: "It wasn't a play for him to shoot a three. I was hoping he would attack."Beyond that, there were plenty of other issues for the Jazz:• Turnovers. Once again the Jazz struggled to take care of the ball. After committing 22 turnovers against OKC, the Jazz coughed up 21 tonight. Four of them came in the fourth quarter, two of them leading to points. First Alec Burks had the ball stolen by Markieff Morris leading to a jump shot. Then there was a bad pass from Burks that ultimately led to Bledsoe getting to the line and pushing the lead to three late."We had a couple of turnovers that really hurt us," Ty Corbin said afterward. "They got a couple of transition baskets because of our sloppy play."• Free throws. The Jazz missed 10 of them. Again.• Poor shooting. After shooting 45 percent against the Thunder, the Jazz regressed to preseason sub-40 form. The Jazz shot 36.5 percent (31-85) from the floor. John Lucas went 2 for 10, and just 1 for 6 from three. Lucas is a scorer first and he's got to contribute in the points column if he's going to make a positive impact for the Jazz. Hayward was 6 for 17. And Enes Kanter went 8 for 22 and somehow only got to the foul line four times in the process.A few final nuggets:• Derrick Favors tied a career high with 17 rebounds. He'd previously reached that mark in March 2012 against Golden State. I suspect he'll break that record soon enough.• Alec Burks needs some help in that second unit. He scored 15 after going off for 24 on Wednesday. He even hit a few from outside, which he struggled to do agains the Thunder. But his fellow reserves only mustered five points combined. Ian Clark looked tentative in his NBA debut and Mike Harris fell back to earth some, as he went scoreless. The Jazz are going to look significantly different in this department once Trey Burke, Marvin Williams and Brandon Rush are able to return.• The Suns, meanwhile, got a nice spark off the bench from Dionte Christmas, who featured and played well for the Jazz in summer league. Christmas scored nine second half points."Coach told me at halftime, 'Christmas, be ready,' and I was one of the first guys off the bench," he said. "I knew that at the time we needed a spark and some energy because we weren't really playing with energy like in the first game and thats' the type of guy I am. I'm energetic, I'm always ready, and I went out there and did my best."• When will the Jazz get their first win? Houston is a tall order, even at home. The Jazz play at Brooklyn on Tuesday. Boston is beatable but maybe not on the second night of an East Coast back-to-back. Then there's Chicago and Toronto back-to-back. I don't know. You tell me. Aaron Falk
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