Skip to main content

4 Takeaways from Jazz's 134-133 Gutsy Win Over Suns

What did we learn about the Utah Jazz?
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

The Utah Jazz once again silenced the haters and critics by defeating the Phoenix Suns, 134-133, in another playoff-feel contest. The win catapulted the Jazz to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference while improving their record to 11-6. 

The Jazz continue to defy preseason playoff odds, while proving a purported tank-mode program can succeed under proper guidance and legitimate leadership. What did we learn from the Jazz-Suns battle?

Let's dive in.

Lauri Markkanen's Career Night

Markkanan provided his 801 compadres with an All-Star-style performance and led the Jazz in scoring with 38 points, grabbed six boards, tossed in three assists with a steal. Super impressive was the fact he made 15-of-18 field goals, equating to 83% from the field, made 2-of-3 three-point shots, and connected on 6-of-8 free throws. 

Some will say the Suns were lacking on the defensive end, but Markkanan is registering respectable numbers on a consistent basis. Anyone who had an opportunity to view or listen to this game witnessed a night where Markkanen was hotter than fish grease. He is tightening his grip on the NBA's Most Improved Player award and should be an All-Star candidate.

Get Malik Beasley Signed Long-Term

When Beasley arrived in SLC via the Rudy Gobert trade, some thought he may be re-traded prior to the NBA season. Historically, Utah has not displayed itself as an organization willing to give past troubled players an opportunity. 

Utah's welcoming and acceptance of Beasley has so far equated to complete success. Beasley dropped 27 points against the Suns, while shooting 10-or-17 from the field and made 7-of-13 three-point shots and continues to thrive under coach Will Hardy. 

Now officially nicknamed 'Cold Blooded,' Beasley is 25 years old, and the Jazz should extend his contract long-term before he even hits the free-agent market. Under Coach Hardy, expect Beasley's production to rise, and he can be a starter or reserve. Minnesota is not looking very good with the Gobert trade because as of now, the Jazz are the clear-cut winners.

This is a Playoff Team

After losing three games in a row, some critics and non-believers begin to write the Jazz off but, not so fast! The Jazz are the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and will next square off against the Portland Trail Blazers, who currently hold the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference on Saturday night. 

Even the oddsmakers are still doubting the Jazz making the playoffs with only a +310 chance. Let 'em hate. 

Coach Hardy Keeps on Trucking

Once again, Coach Hardy defeated an experienced Suns counterpart in Monty Williams. The Suns were without All-Everything point guard Chris Paul but received a 49-point performance from Devin Booker.

However, Hardy countered with Markkanen's 38 points. The Suns did not have another player score in the 20s, but the Jazz had two players score in the 20s. Analytics play a key role in all of sports, and Coach Hardy saw early on that Booker was off to a huge performance. 

Coach Williams should have known that Booker has scored 49 or more points five times in his career, with four of those games resulting in losses. Coach Hardy again capitalized on the analytics, and led his team without the special effects. Hardy will try to reclaim the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference by simply out-coaching his peers.

Bottom Line

This was a huge win for the Jazz, and the game certainly possessed a playoff feel. It seems the Jazz are engaging in these playoff-feel games on a consistent basis which is preparing them for the real thing. 

The Jazz are receiving contributions from multiple players every night, and it will be difficult for a one-man band to defeat this club. Jazz executive Danny Ainge has been relatively quiet, so let's hope he leaves the team as is for now.

Coach Hardy and his troops are ready for any task, and Utah's next game against the Trail Blazers should be another barn-burner. 

Follow Inside The Jazz on Facebook and Twitter.