SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Gordon Hayward had 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to lead a balanced Utah Jazz offense in a 109-86 win over the slumping Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
Richard Jefferson scored 17 points and Diante Garrett had a career-high 15 points as the Jazz had seven players with 10 points or more in Utah’s largest margin of victory this season.
The Jazz shot 57.5 percent from the field, the highest mark of any Phoenix opponent this season.
Gerald Green had 17 points and rookie Archie Goodwin matched his career-best with 16 for the Suns.
Playing their only road game in a nine-game stretch, the Suns have been looking to improve their playoff position. However, with a third straight loss, Phoenix leads Memphis by just one-half game the eighth and final Western Conference berth.
Hayward, mired in a shooting slump (31 percent in his previous 13 games), made plays all over the court in this one.
Some fans chanted to put Hayward back in the game to get his first-ever triple-double. He just smiled as he watched the Jazz play the last 6:15 of the runaway win.
Goran Dragic did not dress due to a sprained ankle and the Suns missed his playmaking abilities. Dragic twisted his right ankle in the third quarter in a loss to Minnesota on Tuesday and will have the injury re-evaluated on Thursday.
Ish Smith had 13 points and five assists but the Jazz didn’t respect his outside shooting and the defense wasn’t spread like it would have been with Dragic. The Suns were 6 of 19 on 3-pointers.
The Jazz turned a five-point lead into a 72-57 advantage thanks a 12-2 run and a 5:08 stretch where they held the Suns without a field goal.
The Jazz broke it open in the fourth quarter as Garrett showed the skills he wished the Suns could have seen last season. Garrett was a late pickup for the Jazz this season after playing 19 games for Phoenix in 2012-13. Garrett had 11 points in the first five minutes of the fourth period to push the Jazz lead to 95-73.
Derrick Favors scored 15 points in his second game back from a hip injury and Alec Burks scored 15 and Jeremy Evans had 11 in reserve roles. The Jazz outscored the Suns 50-36 in the paint and were equally adept from beyond the arc, making 9 of 18 attempts.
After allowing a 35-point fourth quarter against the Timberwolves on Tuesday, the Suns’ defense was again porous against the Jazz. Utah players often beat their Phoenix counterparts down the courts and were one step quicker to the hoop on drives.
Though the Jazz are buried near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, the starting lineup of Jefferson, Marvin Williams, Favors, Hayward and Trey Burke improved to 18-9 on the season.
NOTES: Morris got a technical in the third quarter for yelling at official Zach Zarba after he was called for a foul on Jefferson’s attempted dunk. … The Suns’ largest lead was one point. … The Jazz outscored the Suns in every quarter. … Utah’s previous biggest win this season was in a 122-101 victory at Sacramento on Dec. 11. … Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek played for the Jazz from 1994-2000 and served as an assistant coach with Utah from 2011-13. His No. 14 jersey number hangs in the rafters.
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