NBA

Lauri Markkanen’s career-high night pushes Utah Jazz to win against Phoenix Suns

Lauri Markkanen’s career-high night pushes Utah Jazz to win against Phoenix Suns

The Utah Jazz are back to their winning ways. Against the Phoenix Suns, the Jazz pulled off a rebound victory with a final score of 133-134.

After back-to-back games featuring low levels of energy, focus and execution, the Jazz came out of nowhere against the Suns. In the first quarter alone, Utah scored a whopping 42 points behind the offense of Lauri Markkanen and Malik Beasley. For the night, the Jazz shot 51.6% from three and 56.0% from the field.

For the most part, Utah had a lot of open looks. Although I think it’s fair to say that the Jazz have gotten a decent amount of positive random variance (i.e. their great 3-point shooting, their opponent’s poor 3-point shooting, lucky loose balls, other crazy basketball moments), they also do a fantastic job of generating good shots for themselves.

Take Markkanen, for example. He finished the night with a game-high 38 points on 15-18 shooting (!). While Markkanen had his fair share of tough shots tonight (including an improbable fadeaway jumper to seal the game with thirty seconds left), he also had plenty of open rims and kills thanks to the great movement of team ball The Jazz are constantly cutting, clearing, swinging the ball and looking for the open man. When you click, it’s nice to see.

Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Utah’s supporting cast also showed. Malik Beasley scored a season-high 27 points on 7-13 shooting from the field, Mike Conley led the show with 10 assists, Jordan Clarkson had 20 points and Jared Vanderbilt continued to flirt with breaking the drought Jazz’s 14-year-old triple-double. .

For the Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker showed why he should probably get more respect on the MVP ladder. He finished the night with 49 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists on 16-31 shooting from the field. While the Jazz play solid team defense, their inability to slow down individual scorers has once again reared its ugly head. For the second time in three days, the Jazz have given up close to fifty points to an individual player. While that may speak more to the individual talent of these players, it also begs the question: Do the Jazz, at this point, have? none defensive stoppers in the squad? Jared Vanderbilt? possibly While he is a versatile defender, he is too slow to guard players like Booker and too small to guard players like Embiid. Talen Horton-Tucker, Lauri Markkanen and Malik Beasley have significant holes in parts of their defensive game, so neither do they. Don’t get me wrong, Utah plays with a lot of energy and effort at this point (and plays much, much better defense than last year’s squad), but on an individual level they lack defensive talent. It’s something to watch moving forward.

However, Utah was able to soften the blows from Booker’s supporting cast enough to hold on for a win. While Deandre Ayton finished the night with 17 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 blocks, the Suns couldn’t get enough open looks late in the fourth quarter to steal the game away from Utah.

This Utah team continues to surprise. Since the Jazz have no expectations for success, the fandom’s bets this season are next to nothing. Enjoy watching silly, energetic and fun basketball while it lasts.



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