SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - NOVEMBER 18: Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz drives into Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns during a game at Vivint Arena on November 18, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

"It's About Us As A Team" | Jazz Continue Road Trip, Face First-Place Suns On Saturday Night

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

The road trip continues. 

Twenty-four hours after going toe-to-toe with the defending champions, Utah returns to action when it takes on the first-place Suns on Saturday night in Phoenix — Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MST. 

"I think it’s just about keeping perspective on what’s important to us. ... How you play is more important than the individual result," head coach Will Hardy said. "Obviously we want to win every game but over the course of 82 games, there is some variance. I think it’s about us as a team, staying focused on the right things."

The showdown will feature a rematch from one of the season's most entertaining games a week ago. One of the rare times the Jazz played at the comfortable confines of Vivint Arena, they held on for a 134-133 victory over Devin Booker and the Suns.

The game was a battle between Lauri Markkanen and Booker, with Markkanen going for a career-high 38 points to offset the 49 dropped by Booker. But as they've done all season, the Jazz proved their mettle with incredible depth play — with four other players scoring at least 13 points. 

Malik Beasley dropped 27 points with seven three-pointers off the bench, while Jordan Clarkson added 20 points. Overall, Utah's bench outscored the Suns 52-21.

However, Saturday's rematch will come without a major player — Utah's Mike Conley. 

The veteran point guard is out while dealing with a popliteus strain in his left leg, suffered a week ago against the Trailblazers. He was sensational against Phoenix, finishing with a double-double of 13 points and 10 assists, shooting 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. 

Phoenix enters Saturday shorthanded as well, as veteran point guard Chris Paul continues to deal with a heel injury that's kept him out for the past few weeks. The Suns are also playing the second game of a back-to-back, having beaten Detroit 108-102 on Friday thanks to a season-high 28 points from Deandre Ayton. 

The Jazz are coming off one of their worst shooting nights of the season, but were able to overcome the struggles to have a chance in the end.

"We did not shoot the ball well," Hardy said Friday night. "Really it’s about us, watching the film and staying focused on the things we can control. ... I believe in our group and our shooting. I think that we’ve shown that if we get off 44 threes, I expect us to make more than 11 on most nights."

Utah (12-9, 6-7 away / No. 6 Western Conference)
*117.4 Points Per Game (No. 3 in NBA)
*115.6 Offensive Rating (No. 4 in NBA)|
*115.7 Points Per Game (No. 23 in NBA)
*113.6 Defensive Rating (No. 22 in NBA)

*Lauri Markkanen: 22.0 points | 8.3 rebounds | 2.3 assists | 37.3% 3P-shooting
*Jordan Clarkson: 19.3 points | 4.7 assists | 3.9 rebounds | 35.9% 3P-shooting
*Malik Beasley: 14.2 points | 4.0 rebounds | 41.7% 3P-shooting
*Kelly Olynyk: 12.8 points | 4.8 rebounds | 3.1 assists | 48.5% 3P-shooting

Phoenix (12-6, 10-1 home / No. 1 Western Conference)

*114.7 Points Per Game (No. 11 in NBA)
*115.6 Offensive Rating (No. 3 in NBA)
*107.4 Points Per Game (No. 5 in NBA)
*108.5 Defensive Rating (No. 4 in NBA)

*Devin Booker: 27.1 points | 5.8 assists | 4.9 rebounds | 37.4% 3P-shooting
*Mikal Bridges: 16.2 points | 5.3 rebounds | 47.6% 3P-shooting
*Deandre Ayton: 15.4 points | 8.8 rebounds | 2.1 assists
*Cameron Payne: 14.0 points | 5.0 assists | 40.8% 3P-shooting

*Jordan Clarkson vs. Deandre Ayton
— After watching Markkanen and Booker duel it out a week ago, this game will likely come down to the same scenario; how do the complementary pieces perform? Clarkson has been on a tear as of late, scoring 20+ in each of his last five games and averaging 23.8 points during that span. Ayton is coming off a season-high in points and has four straight double-doubles. Whoever can rise to the occasion has a good chance of helping their team to victory. 

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 18: Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz drives to the basket against the Phoenix Suns on November 18, 2022 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

OUT | Mike Conley (popliteus strain left leg)
OUT | Rudy Gay (third MCP joint sprain left hand)
OUT | Ochai Agbaji (G League - On Assignment)
OUT | Leandro Bolmaro (G League - On Assignment)
OUT | Johnny Juzang (G League - Two-Way)
OUT | Micah Potter (G League - Two-Way)
OUT | Chris Paul (right heel soreness)
OUT | Jae Crowder (not with team)
OUT | Cameron Johnson (right meniscus tear)
OUT | Landry Shamet (concussion protocol)

 7:00 p.m. MST
Location Footprint Center/ Phoenix, AZ
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 1280 The Zone