Suns commit 32 turnovers in preseason loss to Jazz
PHOENIX — Preseason NBA basketball is rarely artistic, but the Phoenix Suns took sloppiness to a new level Monday night.
Phoenix committed 32 turnovers, including 19 in the first half, in a 120-102 to the Utah Jazz at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Utah’s Ricky Rubio set the tone early, scoring the first nine points for the Jazz, who never trailed in the game. Rubio finished with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Rookie Donovan Mitchell added 17 for Utah, who has now beaten the Suns twice this preseason.
The turnovers were a team effort. Twelve of the 13 players Earl Watson used on the night committed at least one. Rookie forward Josh Jackson led the way with seven; Marquese Chriss, Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe each had four.
Watson credited Utah’s defense for some of the turnovers.
“I would say what they did was be more aggressive on our ball reversals,” Watson said. “Our pace wasn’t there and (you have to be) more aggressive. With younger teams, it’s going to be a physical game. So we have to realize in order to get the ball reversed, we have to be physical, open up, push off and get the ball to get into our offense.
“They took us out of our offense immediately.”
The Suns, who fell to 1-2 on the preseason, trailed by as many as 30 points in the contest, but were able to trim the margin to 16 points entering the fourth quarter.
Despite the lopsided loss, there were a few bright spots for the Suns. Center Alex Len got the start and continued his stellar preseason play, with 18 points, six rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot.
“We see him coming into his own and with bigs, it usually takes more time — around their mid-20s — and he’s about that age, so you the progression starting to come into effect,” Watson said.
Jackson, not known for his three-point shooting, hit his first three attempts from beyond the arc and finished the game with 14 points.
The Suns played without forward T.J. Warren, who suffered an injury last Friday in Utah. They also didn’t have veteran center Tyson Chandler for most of the night. Chandler picked up a Flagrant Foul Type 2 with 8:20 to go in the second quarter and that is an automatic ejection.
Phoenix continues its preseason schedule Wednesday night at home against the Portland Trail Blazers. Tip-off is at 7:00 and you can hear all the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.