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The Roundup—Mitchell scores 38, but Jazz fall to Suns at home
Another night. Another strong first half. Another third-quarter meltdown.
And another loss for the Utah Jazz.
This time, it was a 131-111 defeat at the hands of the Phoenix Suns Monday night in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz (36-21) have now lost three straight games—all at home—by an average of 13 points. None of those contests have been consistently competitive.
"We're going to keep getting the same result if we don't focus and execute on the defensive end," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "This is a group that's done that. But that doesn't matter right now. What that should tell us is that we're capable, at least on some level. But right now that's not who we are. Who you are is who you are now. Not who you've been or what you're going to do or what you can do. It's what you do. And what we did tonight wasn't good. Obviously that's an understatement on a lot of levels."
Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 38 points, while Bojan Bogdanović (16 points), Jordan Clarkson (14 points) and Rudy Gobert (13 points, eight rebounds) also scored in double figures in the loss.
The Jazz went on a 22-9 run in the first quarter to take an eight-point lead, but all of that momentum disappeared at halftime. Phoenix outscored Utah 37-26 in the third quarter and then ran away for the lopsided victory.
Former Jazz guard Ricky Rubio had his best game of the season in his return to Vivint Smart Home Arena, finishing with 22 points, six rebounds, 11 assists and a season-high seven steals. He also registered a game-best +31 net rating in 33 minutes on the floor.
Devin Booker also double-doubled with 24 points and 10 assists, while Kelly Oubre Jr. added 18 points in the win for the Suns (24-34).
"The season's not over," Snyder said. "It's not going to end any time soon. We need to commit and correct it."
Monday's Best: Donovan Mitchell
Mitchell's play was the most obvious silver lining in one of Utah's worst losses in recent memory. The third-year guard was agressive throughout the night, scoring the first bucket of the game on a sweeping layup, drilling back-to-back threes to kick-start an early Utah run, and scoring 13 of his game-high 38 points in the fourth quarter. Mitchell shot 11-for-19 from the field, including 6-for-9 from three, and added four rebounds, four assists and a steal in 35 minutes. He's now scored at least 30 points 16 times this season.
Phoenix shot 56.3 percent from the field, including 60.0 percent (12-for-20) from 3-point range. The Jazz also shot the ball well (47.1 percent) and made 10 triples. Plus they shot 37-for-43 (86.0 percent) from the free-throw line. But they simply couldn't stop Phoenix's attack.
Utah turned the ball over 20 times, which resulted in 27 Phoenix points. On the other end, the Jazz started off hot, turning six Suns turnovers into 14 fast-break points in the first quarter alone—but then they managed only one transition bucket the rest of the way.
Late in the fourth quarter, Gobert swatted away a layup attempt by Rubio for his 1,000th career block.
Phoenix's Deandre Ayton (second quarter) and Oubre Jr. (fourth quarter) were whistled for technical fouls. So was Utah's Snyder (second quarter). ... The season series is now tied 1-1. ... Phoenix outscored Utah 66-42 in the paint. ... Ayton scored 16 points on 8-for-9 shooting in 21 foul-plagued minutes. ... Royce O'Neale led the Jazz with nine rebounds. ... Utah is now 20-8 at home this season.
The Jazz will stay at home to face the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. Tipoff is set for 8:30pm MT, and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.