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Suns Strokes: Dragic-less Suns overmatched in loss to Jazz

Sure, you could read the box score and know who won, but we all know that won’t tell you everything that happened in a basketball game. So, we will give you Suns Strokes, providing you with the analysis, quotes and notes from the Suns’ 103-88 loss to Jazz on March 27.

The Good:

The Suns did something they hadn’t done in their previous three losses: come out hot. Phoenix began Wednesday’s game 9-of-12 from the field before going cold the final six minutes of the first quarter (trailed 34-23).

Despite two days off between games, the Suns decided to “rest” starting point guard Goran Dragic. In his place, Kendall Marshall made his first NBA start. The former UNC star showed off his impressive passing skills and finished with a game-high 13 assists.

For the first time this season, Wesley Johnson put together back-to-back 20-point games. Johnson scored a season-high 22 points and hit 4-of-7 from three-point range.

The Bad:

Al Jefferson has always been a terror against the Suns, and Wednesday night was no different. Whether he was guarded by Markieff Morris, Hamed Haddadi or Jermaine O’Neal, Jefferson had no problem putting up shots or points against Phoenix. In all, Jefferson scored a game-high 25 points and added nine rebounds.

Gordon Hayward also had his way at the offensive end — whether it be from the free throw line or beyond the three-point arc. Hayward also finished with 25 points in the victory.

The Suns actually made a game of it in the third quarter closing the gap to 75-71, but a bad lapse to start the final frame (10-0 run by Jazz) gave Utah a rather easy double-digit advantage.

He Said It:

“I thought our young guys fought pretty hard,” interim head coach Lindsey Hunter said. “Kendall did a great job of distributing the ball, running the offense. “I think this is his first time playing extended minutes, so I think it got to him. I think he got a little tired.”


• The Suns have lost four or more in a row six different times in 2012-13.

• Phoenix has lost three straight at Energy Solutions Arena dating back to April 2012.

• Luis Scola had his first 20-point game since January 23.

• Diante Garrett played extended minutes (14) off the bench in Utah. Garrett had eight points and one assist.

Up Next:

The Suns (23-49) play the second end of their back-to-back Thursday at US Airways Center against the Sacramento Kings. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.