The Phoenix Suns are becoming a dangerous team on both ends of the court.
The Suns beat Utah 106-95 on Thursday night for their first 4-1 start since 2009, turning up the pressure on both offense and defense.
Phoenix held Utah to 41.7% shooting from the field and forced 13 turnovers. Offensively, the Suns shot a sizzling 51.5% from 3-point range and made 17 3-pointers overall.
Phoenix never trailed over the final three quarters.
“We played balanced the whole game,” guard Devin Booker said.
Booker had 25 points and seven assists. Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder added 16 points apiece for the Suns. Phoenix had six players score in double figures.
Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points for the Jazz. Rudy Gobert had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Mike Conley chipped in 16 points. The Jazz are 0-2 at home to start the 2020-21 season.
“Teams have been coming out being aggressive and it’s taking us too long to react,” Gobert said. “We have all the weapons to counteract that, but tonight it took us too long to adjust again.”
Cold shooting from the Jazz allowed the Suns to surge ahead in the second quarter. Utah missed 13 shots in the quarter and shot just 39.5% from the field overall before halftime.
Phoenix scored on three straight possessions to end the quarter and kick-start a 16-2 run. Johnson made three baskets during the run, culminating in a jumper that put the Suns up 91-70 early in the fourth quarter.
“That’s where we hang our hat is on the defensive end,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “We feel like we’re trending in the right direction.”
Utah cut a 21-point, fourth-quarter deficit to 98-93 on Conley’s 3-pointer with 2:07 left. Mitchell and Conley combined to score on five straight possessions to get the Jazz back into the game, but Utah could draw no closer.
“The biggest thing is just playing through it,” Mitchell said. “Teams are going to be aggressive. We played hard but we didn’t play smart.”