Four days after playing the Phoenix Suns, the Jazz had to turn around and prepare for … the Phoenix Suns.
A repeat opponent in consecutive games doesn’t happen this year in Utah’s regular season schedule, but it’s an odd quirk of the preseason this year that the Jazz happen to play the Suns back to back.
It’s not a total repeat in terms of preparation, Suns coach Earl Watson said, particularly in the preseason. When each team knows so little about its opponent before the first meeting, they’ll have a comparative wealth of information on hand for the second meeting.
“It changes tremendously,” he said. “You get better information. You get better, truer numbers than you thought would be.”
The Suns determined, for example, that they wanted to key in on rebounding for the rematch with the Jazz. For themselves, they wanted to follow their own gameplan a little more closely.
Jazz coach Quin Snyder said for him it was a chance to work on specific plays that didn’t go as well in the first game, while also experimenting with some rotations.
“I think you can figure out some things,” he said. “There’s things that happened last game we get a chance to work on and improve on.”
Jazz sign guard Torian Graham
The day after arriving in Phoenix, Utah signed a standout who played college ball in Tempe last year.
Torian Graham, a 6-foot-5 guard who scored 18.6 points per game last season with Arizona State, has filled Utah’s 20th roster spot, the team announced on Monday afternoon. A former top-100 recruit out of high school, Graham ended up playing only one year at the Division I level for the Sun Devils. He played in Summer League with the Dallas Mavericks.
A team spokesman said that Graham would not join the Jazz on their preseason road trip. Graham takes the spot of Taylor Braun, whom the Jazz waived over the weekend. If Graham doesn’t make the final 15-man roster of the Jazz (a likely proposition), his rights would be retained by Utah’s G-League affiliate the Salt Lake City Stars for the upcoming season.
The game wasn’t broadcast on TV, but rather streamed online from the Phoenix Suns Facebook page. It also wasn’t well-attended, owing to a bigger option only two blocks away: The Arizona Diamondbacks threw their first pitch in a playoffs elimination game at Chase Field against the Los Angeles Dodgers at roughly the same time the Jazz and Suns tipped off. … Before the game, the Suns had a moment of silence for former player Connie Hawkins. The first Suns player to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Hawkins died on Friday at 75.