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The Roundup—Jazz 91, Suns 86
The Utah Jazz closed out 2016 with a bang, celebrating New Year's Eve with a scrappy 91-86 win over the Phoenix Suns Saturday night in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz (21-13) have now won three straight games.
Gordon Hayward scored seven of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Jazz to the victory. Rudy Gobert added 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Rodney Hood (13 points) was the only other Jazz player to score in double figures.
George Hill took an elbow from Phoenix's Alex Len late in the first quarter and missed the rest of the game. He received 18 stitches in his lower lip and is undergoing concussion testing.
Devin Booker scored 18 points (on 8-for-10 shooting) in the first quarter ... and then only two points (on 1-for-9 shooting) the rest of the way. He missed a 3-point attempt that would have tied the game with under 10 seconds left, all but sealing the win for the Jazz.
Eric Bledsoe added 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Suns (10-24) in the loss.
After an off night against the Sixers on Thursday, Gobert brought it tonight. He had his 23rd double-double of the season (18 points, 13 rebounds) in ultra-efficient fashion, shooting 7-for-8 from the field and 4-for-5 from the line. He also added three blocks and (as usual) played a massive role on defense, especially late in the game when his presence in the paint effectively bogged down Phoenix's offense.
Hood was called for a ghost foul on a "3-point attempt" midway through the fourth quarter, and the call lit a fire under the Jazz. After Dragan Bender missed two of his three free throws, Hood immediately beat the shot clock with a long three. Hayward scored on a baseline jumper and a tip-in, and then he dished to Gobert for a reverse dunk. Gobert proceeded to stuff Bledsoe at the rim and then throw down a two-handed dunk off an alley-oop from Shelvin Mack to give Utah a five-point lead with 1:46 left to play.
The Jazz struggled from the free-throw line for the second straight game. Utah shot 13-for-20 (65.0) from the line overall, and only 2-for-6 in the fourth quarter before Hayward stepped up and sank two straight with 3.0 seconds left to seal the win. They dodged a bullet with all those misses in a tight game.
Phoenix only scored two points in the game's final five minutes, and that bucket came on a put-back dunk by Tyson Chandler. The Suns shot 1-for-10 (10.0 percent) from the field and committed two turnovers during that stretch.
Coach's Quote of the Night
"[Phoenix] is a really good team right now. ... I thought we held the line and just continued to battle defensively. It was a tough, contested game—every pass, every play. And that's a credit to both teams just playing hard and being determined."
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
The game had 20 lead changes and eight ties. ... The Suns had only nine assists (eight by Bledsoe). ... Utah outrebounded Phoenix 46-41. ... Raul Neto scored eight points on 3-for-6 shooting, with one assist and one steal in 14 minutes. ... Derrick Favors added nine points, eight rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes.
The Jazz will begin a five-game road trip when they face the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. MT, and the game will be televised on ROOT SPORTS.