Phoenix Suns fight through it all, stop Utah Jazz

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

For Phoenix Suns fans, it’s not too big a leap to consider Wednesday’s game as a real test of championship mettle.

And we are here for your rehash of that overtime.

The Suns already have the respect of the national basketball community, as evidenced by their consistent ranking among the best in the NBA.

Let’s just say the Utah Jazz and the Suns passed the test with flying — and entertaining — colors.

The Suns and Jazz could well meet up in the postseason, and Utah isn’t the only major concern among potential Western Conference playoff rivals.

The Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz didn’t disappoint, playing a tense, overtime game that could foreshadow an eventful postseason.

The Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the Western Conference battled through four quarters and couldn’t decide a winner. Suns superstar Chris Paul was here to help.

So, in OT …


Phoenix Suns fans need to fully digest the meal, to savor the battle joined and to look back on that overtime period.

We’re here to help.

All that said, the Suns probably could have – should have? — put this one away earlier than they did (spoiler alert: The Suns won).

With a 100-96 fourth-quarter lead, thanks to a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder with two minutes left, Phoenix allowed a Donovan Mitchell contested 3-pointer with 10.4 seconds remaining for Utah to tie it at 102.

Devin Booker’s 3 at the horn missed.

But … before that …

The Suns held the Jazz to 40 points in two quarters.

But then the Jazz rallied to take a 78-77 after three. Momentum, gone.

The Phoenix Suns began Wednesday night’s showdown with the Utah Jazz in impressive fashion.

Phoenix built an early 13-2 lead but let the Jazz recover. It was 21-20, Utah, after one.

The fight to expand the 11-point cushion was a failure, and the Jazz took that one-point lead into the fourth.

With the game on the line, the Suns ran another Booker iso. He didn’t push Mitchell with a drive; instead, pulling up for a long jumper.

“I thought he just settled,” ESPN’s Mark Jackson said of Booker’s last-second shot attempt.

It did seem that was the right choice for executing a buzzer-beating attempt, given Booker’s fourth-quarter raids on the basket via aggressive drives.

But, hey, free basketball, right?

In front of a capacity crowd (newly defined as 5,300 fans), the Suns found a way in the overtime, scoring the first five points of the extra session.

They never trailed again.

The Phoenix Suns did not shrink from the spotlight, turning up the heat in overtime to secure a valuable victory over Utah.

The overtime: Mitchell missed a 3, Deandre Ayton missed a 10-footer, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was called for an offensive foul on Booker on a screen attempt.

Cam Johnson buried a 3 off a nice find from Jae Crowder — with a back screen from Booker providing a nice assist.

Mitchell found Gobert for a dunk.

Ayton was fouled, leading to a Booker midrange jumper to give him 32 points.

Suns by five.

Mitchell missed a 3. Paul rebounded and then a Booker isolation with Gobert looked like a big opportunity. But Booker couldn’t hit a midrange J.

Mitchell then drew a foul on Ayton.

With 2:18 left in OT, the Suns led 109-104.

And then Mitchell, showing he’s worthy of challenging Booker on the “best 25 under the age of 25” list, ran an iso and hit a bank from 8 feet.

Booker, up for the challenge, beat Mitchell on a 13-footer.

Jazz floor leader Mike Conley then took advantage of a switch and beat Ayton for 2.

This was some good stuff. It was 111-108 Suns with 1:20 left.

Booker then found Paul for a 3. It’s a celebratory chest slap (self-inflicted) and ran his point total to 27.

Mitchell turned the corner and hit a layup for points 39 and 40. He’s good.

Suns, 114-110, under a minute.

Paul missed a 16-footer. Jazz ball.

Crowder fouled Conley with 24.2 seconds left.

An ESPN camera caught Paul’s yellow “secret stuff” during the timeout.

A give and go between Gobert and Conley made it 114-112.

Cam Johnson was fouled with 16.7 seconds left, but the Jazz were not yet in the penalty.

Mikal Bridges, with ZERO points on one field-goal attempt, is back in the game.

Booker headed for the line 8 for 8 as an 86 percent shooter this season.

He hit only one of his two attempts 12.2 seconds left.

“I’m fouling,” ESPN analyst Mark Jackson says, giving Monty Williams some unsolicited advice.

Play-by-play voice Dave Pasch asked, when do you foul?

Jackson said Monty Williams and the team have discussed it: foul “at the appropriate time.”

Ah, OK.

Suns fouled just before Mitchell went into the shooting motion (the officials ruled).

“Looks like the right call, right?” Pasch said.

Now it was Mitchell’s turn to gag a little at the line. He missed the first of two with 9.1 seconds left. He made the second.

Paul was fouled with just under eight ticks remaining.

He’s the sixth-best free-throw shooter in the league as he stepped to the line. Yep, 93% and he nailed both.

The MVP tonight, Paul attempted 24 shots from the field, making 12. He scored 29 points and handed out nine assists.

Being French, Gobert, at this point, needed some cosmetic assistance at this point. (Just kidding, French people, it was an issue with his contact lenses.)

Mitchell missed a long 3-pointer, Torrey Craig rebounded the ball and the Suns moved to a game behind the Jazz in the loss column.

The Phoenix Suns are a game behind the Jazz in the loss column and travel to Los Angeles for a Thursday meeting with the Clippers.

“What a ballgame,” Jackson said. “These are two teams we’re gonna see in the postseason.”

It took Mitchell 35 shots to reach his 41 points (16-35 from the field).

And Booker missed all six of his 3s but finished with 35 points, though it took him 31 shots to do so. (13-31 shooting).

Key points:

  • The Suns had a 61-45 rebounding advantage, led by 12 each from Ayton and Crowder.
  • Ayton, with 18 points to go with those 12 rebounds, was every bit as valuable as potential Defensive Player of the Year Gobert.
  • Paul was perhaps the best player on the floor all night.
  • The Suns’ victory clinched the season series with the Jazz. Nice, if home-court advantage is at stake down the stretch.

“What a fun night,” Pasch said.


dark. Next. Devin Booker and R-E-S-P-E-C-T