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Suns Strokes: Suns lose sixth straight game to Jazz

Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker (17) argues a call with referee Monty McCutchen (13) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz , Sunday, April 3, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

At least they didn’t lose by 34.

And more good news, they exceeded their point total from the previous meeting against the Utah Jazz.

It still added up to a loss, a sixth straight, as the Phoenix Suns dropped a 101-86 decision in front of a Sunday afternoon crowd of 17,279 at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Gordon Hayward scored 22 points, one of five Jazz players in double figures.

Rodney Hood added 18 — hitting six 3s — and Derrick Favors 17.

The Suns, meanwhile, got a game-high 24 from Mirza Teletovic, who made 9-of-16 shots off the bench.

Tyson Chandler posted his season-best third straight double-double with 21 points, setting a new season-high, and 18 rebounds; becoming the first Suns player to score at least 18 points and grab 18 rebounds since Amar’e Stoudemire in 2010.

Playing with a 10-man roster for a second straight game, the Suns (20-57) took an early 21-11 first-quarter lead, but then collapsed in the second.

The Jazz used an 18-0 run to go up 14 at 1:17 of the period. Six different players scored for the Jazz during the run with Hayward and Favors leading the group with four points apiece; all the while the Suns were 0-of-10 from the field and committing four turnovers.

When the dust settled, the Jazz had outscored the Suns 30-10, tied for the second-largest negative point differential in a quarter for the Suns this season.

The 10 points were a Suns season-low for second-quarter scoring.

With the win, the Jazz (39-38) swept the season series and maintained their one-game lead on Houston for the eight-seed in the Western Conference.

The Suns, who struggled to score 69 points in the last matchup against the Jazz, were once again minus injured players Brandon Knight and Jon Leuer.

THE GOOD

Coming off his 17th double-double of the season, Chandler put himself in great position for an 18th double-double after an eight-point and six-rebound effort in the first quarter. Chandler made 4-of-5 shots in the midst of an 11-3 run midway through the period. Teletovic punctuated the run with a 24-foot 3-pointer for a 19-9 lead at 2:04; the Suns largest advantage of the quarter.

Just 74 seconds into the second half Devin Booker drained a 3 to extend his streak of at least one made 3-pointer to 11 straight games, which established a new Suns rookie record. The previous mark was shared by Booker (Jan. 19-Feb. 6) and Leandro Barbosa, who accomplished the feat back in 2004 (Jan. 2-19). Booker has made the second-most 3s (91) by a rookie in Suns history.

Following Booker’s 3-pointer, P.J. Tucker made three straight 3s including on back-to-back possessions; the second of which pulled the Suns to within four, 53-49, at 7:29 of the third quarter. Tucker scored a game-high 12 on 4-of-6 shooting in the period. Chandler added eight and eight more rebounds, putting his totals at 16 points, tying a season-high, and 17 rebounds through three quarters of game action.

With three 3-pointers, Teletovic is now just three triples shy from setting a new NBA record for most made 3s off the bench in one season, as he would pass Chuck Person’s 164 mark from 1994-95. Teletovic scored eight of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, giving him back-to-back 20-point games for the first time this season and the second of his career, matching a two-game effort from 2014 while with Brooklyn.

THE BAD

Hard to score when you don’t make shots and the Jazz couldn’t buy a basket at the onset of the game. They missed their first six attempts and 17 of 23 in the first quarter. Hood accounted for six of the misses, including four tries from beyond the arc. The Jazz 26.1 percent shooting equated to 16 points, a Suns season’s second-lowest opponent first-quarter total. Hayward led the Jazz with seven points.

It was the Suns turn to struggle hitting shots; and they did in the second quarter. They went nearly 10 minutes (9:40 to be exact) between made baskets, missing 13 straight attempts. They also turned the ball over five times during the drought; all of which allowed the Jazz to go on a 24-2 run to turn an eight-point deficit into a 14-point lead, 44-30, at 1:17. Hood bookended the run with 25-foot 3-pointers.

After seeing their 13-point halftime lead trimmed to four, the Jazz went on a 13-4 run to put their advantage back to 13, 66-53, at 4:01 of the third quarter. Favors scored five, Hood and Trey Lyles each had three—each hit long 3-pointers—as the Jazz needed less than three minutes (2:53 to be exact) to accumulate those 13 points. Favors and Shelvin Mack shared team-high scoring honors in the period with seven points.

Whatever hopes the Suns had at a late comeback were squashed by an 8-0 Jazz fourth-quarter run that handed Utah its largest lead of the game, 99-79, at 2:04. Again, it was a pair of Hood 3-pointers that bookended the run. Hayward added a fast-break dunk for two of his team-best nine points on 4-of-7 shooting in the period. As a team, the Jazz made 11-of-20 shots (55.0 percent) and outscored the Suns 27-22.

STAT OF THE GAME

26: The number of Jazz points off 22 Suns turnovers with 15 of those points coming in the second half

HE SAID IT

“We have an inexperience bench. Some guys have been in the league for a couple of years. They’re not as experienced as the other team, pretty solid bench, played well. Our starters play heavy minutes, but they can’t play the entire game,” interim head coach Earl Watson said.

NOTED

Alex Len missed all eight of his shot attempts and is now just 1-of-18 over his last two games; he is still rebounding, however, with 14, six coming against the Jazz.

Knight and Leuer each missed their second straight game; for Knight it marked the 25th time he failed to play, while Leuer sat out for the ninth time this season.

In honor of Autism Awareness month, 15-year-old Tommy Ponesse joined Suns public address announcer Kip Helt to assist with pregame announcements.

UP NEXT

The Suns head out on the road for one final time this season. It’s a three-game, five-day trip that will see them stop in Atlanta, Houston and New Orleans.

The visit to Atlanta is Tuesday, April 5. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

The Suns won the first meeting, snapping a six-game losing streak, which saw Archie Goodwin hit a game-winner in the final second and Chandler match a franchise-record for rebounds in a 98-95 victory in Phoenix.

Let’s start with Goodwin. He drained a 24-foot 3-pointer that left just :00.1 on the clock, while Chandler two possessions earlier grabbed his 27th rebound and 13th offensive board—his 27th rebound tied Paul Silas (1971) for the team record and his 13th offensive rebound set a new franchise mark.

Goodwin led the Suns with 24 points.

Overall, the Suns have won 11 of the last 16 in the series.

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