Jazz ground reeling Suns for 6th straight win
PHOENIX — Rodney Hood scored 25 points, Gordon Hayward added 22 and the Utah Jazz stretched their season-long winning streak to six games with a 98-89 victory over the reeling Phoenix Suns on Saturday (Sunday Manila time).
The Suns lost their seventh straight and are 2-22 in their last 24 games, the worst record in such a span in the franchise’s history.
Devin Booker scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter for the Suns, who cut Utah’s 23-point lead to six in the final minutes. Mirza Teletovic scored all 15 of his points in the second half for the Suns. Markieff Morris added 17.
Utah, coming off a victory over Milwaukee on Friday night, scored the first 10 points and was up by as many as 20 in the first half and 23 in the third quarter.
All five Utah starters reached double figures.
Teletovic’s 3-pointer capped a 7-0 spurt to pull the Suns within 10, 75-65, with 10:09 to play. Hood responded with consecutive baskets, but Phoenix came back to cut it to 84-75 on Booker’s step-back 13-footer with 3:30 to play.
The Jazz used free throws to pad the lead from there but consecutive 3-pointers by the 19-year-old rookie Booker made it 94-88 with 1:34 to play. Rudy Gobert, who sank 9-of-12 free throws in the fourth quarter, made two from the line with 1:22 to play to boost the lead to 96-88 and the Jazz held on from there.
Utah never trailed, shooting out to a 14-2 lead, prompting Phoenix interim coach Earl Watson to replace all five starters. The Jazz led 31-12 after one quarter. The Suns shot 23-percent in the quarter (5-for-22) to Utah’s 57 percent (12-of-21).
The Suns mounted a 9-0 run in the second quarter to cut Utah’s lead to 36-25 on Morris’ driving layup with 5:13 left in the half and it was 40-29 after Booker’s fastbreak basket 3:24. But Hood’s 3-pointer boosted the lead to 48-30, Raul Neto sank a trey just before the halftime buzzer and Utah led 53-35.