Although Thursday night’s contest was played indoors, unlike the Suns’ Oct. 10 preseason victory over Dallas, Phoenix sure seemed to let it rain in the second game of the team’s home and home series with the Jazz.
The Suns fired up 21 three-pointers but only connected on six en route to a second consecutive loss to Utah, this time by a score of 108-97.
Hedo Turkoglu was the most noticeable offender, as he seemingly took a shot from long distance whenever possible.
However, he did play better than he had in previous outings, finishing 3-of-7 beyond the arc for a team-high 13 points.
No Suns starter played more than 19 minutes.
The first half of Thursday’s game was incredulously slow with 34 fouls called, 22 of which were on Utah.
By the end of the game, the Jazz racked up 33 personal fouls.
Last season, Utah was the second most penalized team in the NBA, averaging more than 22 personals per game.
At the foul line, the Suns performed admirably, draining 29-of-39 from the charity stripe.
Leading 70-65 midway through the third quarter, Phoenix allowed Utah to storm off a 16-4 run to end the period.
This, however, was done long after the Suns’ key players were removed from the game. Phoenix never fully recovered and trailed by as much as 16 in the fourth quarter.
Al Jefferson, who was traded in the offseason from Minnesota, led the Jazz in scoring with a game-high 24 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Only adding to concerns for when the regular season begins, the Suns once again lost the rebounding battle 51-34. Also, 15 of Utah’s boards were offensive as the Jazz outscored Phoenix in the paint by 10.
Defensively, the Suns were a mess. At the end of the first half Channing Frye allowed Utah’s Jeremy Evans to slip behind him twice and convert back to back alley-oop layups.
A bright spot for Phoenix, however, was the play of Garret Siler.
The 6-foot-11-inch, 305-pound center came off the bench to score 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting with seven rebounds in 20 minutes.
The Suns have three preseason games remaining and it will be crucial in each one to develop some sort of continuity in the rotations before heading into the regular season opener Oct. 26 against Portland.
Yes, it is just the preseason, but if the Suns get off to a slow start, fans will point to these games as the smoke for the fire.
In the two-game battle of former Syracuse teammates, Hakim Warrick and Jazz forward Demetris Nichols, the Suns’ Orangeman edged out the statistical win.
Warrick finished the home-and-home series with a combined 19 points and six rebounds, while Nichols tallied 18 points and five boards.
The duo played together at SU for two seasons between 2003-05, winning the school’s first Big East tournament championship since 1992 in the process.
The Suns travel to Toronto to take on the Raptors Sunday morning at 10 a.m. MST in a game to be televised by NBA TV. On Oct. 6 in Vancouver, the Raptors demolished the Suns 129-78.