The Suns athleticism, energy and intensity were key as the Phoenix Suns prevailed over the Utah Jazz 87-84.
The game was up and down with a frenetic pace even more than the sub-90 score would indicate. The game was relatively close overall, with each team making runs, and it all came down to the final 30 seconds.
For background, Bledsoe had only scored one point back in the first quarter, but finished with a respectable 18 points with 17 coming in the final quarter. The only player for Phoenix to score in the second half of the fourth was Bledsoe. He was driving in, pushing the pace and getting to the basket. While he didn’t make all of the shots, he continued to get fouled.
The Suns were up by three and Gordon Hayward, the former Butler standout that really bulked up this offseason, drove hard with P.J. Tucker checking him. Hayward had been getting to the rim all night, but this time he stopped on a dime at the top of the arc, Tucker kept sliding toward the basket for a second and Hayward stepped back for a perfect swish from three-point range.
With only enough time for one final shot and nothing to lose, Bledsoe started dribbling the time out. He had only made one of his seven three-point attempts that game, but he put those misses out of his head and approached the three-point line, dribbling slowly. Hayward was guarding him, wary of the penetration into the lane since any points would win the game. So Hayward back off a little too much and Bledsoe released the ball with the perfect arc, having it barely even touch the net when it went in.
Game over… pretty much.
After that, Hayward got the ball on a curl, but stepped out of bounds.
Dragic collided with Tucker in the second quarter as they were going for the ball. Tucker was fine, but Dragic didn’t look so good and stayed out the rest of the game, after briefly trying to give it a go at the beginning of the second half.
The Suns’ bigs had trouble all game keeping Utah’s frontcourt from scoring in the post. Rebounding was also an issue for Phoenix. Enes Kanter had TEN OFFENSIVE rebounds. That’s unacceptable.
For the Jazz, Hayward has been given the green light and almost had a triple-double.
Phoenix travels to take on Oklahoma City Sunday to defend their undefeated record.