Utah was hanging on by a thread the whole second half, and when the Suns took their first lead of the game with 7:28 in the fourth quarter, it felt like the tide had finally turned. But Phoenix's first lead ended up being the last one, thanks to some incredible shot-making by the Jazz down the stretch.
Some players stole the show, while others struggled from start to finish. Let's break down the game's studs and duds.
Stud: Lauri Markkanen
Markkanen had his best game of the year, which is saying a lot. The 7-footer from Finland scored 38 points on 15-of-18 shooting while grabbing six rebounds.
The shot that will most be remembered was a contested 21-foot turnaround jumper on an expiring shot clock that put Utah up three with 38.5 seconds left. Phoenix had no answer for Markkanen’s length in the paint, and the Jazz are undefeated when their starting forward scores at least 18 points in a game.
Dud: Kelly Olynyk
Olynyk was a fouling machine on Friday night. Utah’s starting center led the league coming into the game with 4.38 per contest, but against the Suns, he really outdid himself.
In just 20 minutes of action, Olynyk committed five fouls, contributing to the Suns knocking down 26-of-28 from the charity stripe. Also, Jarred Vanderbilt fouled out in 27 minutes, but in his defense, he was guarding Devin Booker for much of the night. Olynyk continues to get in his own way, forcing Utah to be in the bonus too early in the quarter.
Stud: Malik Beasley
Markkanen has been Utah’s best player this year, but Malik Beasley can make a case for being the most consistent. Beasley came off the bench and knocked down seven three-pointers on his way to 27 points.
It was a season-high for Beasley, but he’s also been in double figures in his last seven games, averaging 16.7 per contest. The trade value for Beasley is sky-high, but he's entering the conversation of players Utah should consider locking down long-term.
Dud: Jazz Schedule
The Jazz are now on a plane to play a rested Portland Trail Blazers team on Saturday night. The NBA’s schedule-makers did the Jazz no favors during this stretch, where they'll be playing five games in the next eight days, including two back-to-backs against playoff contenders.
Utah going 2-3 would be a win, in my book.
Stud: Mike Conley
Utah’s veteran point guard reverted back to the player he was early in the season. Conley posted a double-double, scoring 13 points while dishing out 10 assists.
With a strong performance, it will be interesting to see if Conley gets a day's rest tomorrow night. The Jazz need Conley on the court, but it's clear his minutes need to be managed at age 35, too.
First-year head coach Will Hardy has some tough decisions on how to juggle his playing time moving forward.