Thomas, Dragic lead Suns past Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY -- Isaiah Thomas scored 19 points off the bench and Goran Dragic added 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting to help the Phoenix Suns close out the NBA preseason with a 105-100 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
Markieff Morris added 17 points for the Suns (5-2), who rallied from a double-digit first half deficit to get the win. Gordon Hayward had 24 points and Alec Burks added 20 for the Jazz (5-3).
Phoenix and Utah traded baskets throughout much of the third and fourth quarters. The Suns finally took a 97-91 lead with 2:47 left after Dragic hit a 3-pointer to end an 11-2 run.
Utah cut it to a one-possession game when Hayward converted a 3-point play to make it 99-96 game with 51.7 seconds left. But Trey Burke missed a basket after a Morris turnover and Eric Bledsoe and Thomas each sank a pair of free throws to ice the game in the final seconds.
The Jazz struggled in transition and it cost them down the stretch. Phoenix had a 20-8 edge in fast break points.
Defensively, the Suns forced 21 turnovers and scored 22 points off Utah's miscues. They held the Jazz to 41.8 percent (33-of-79) shooting from the field.
Utah took control early in the first quarter with some timely scoring from Enes Kanter. Kanter hit two free throws and scored three baskets to spark an 11-1 run, putting the Jazz up 17-7 five minutes into the quarter.
Phoenix cut into the lead once Kanter and the Jazz cooled down. Thomas and Gerald Green scored 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions late in the quarter to cut Utah's lead to 31-28.
Utah rebuilt a double digit lead late in the second quarter when Hayward scored a three-pointer and a jumper on back-to-back possessions to put the Jazz ahead 49-37. The cushion didn't last long. Utah shot just 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) from the field during the quarter - opening the door for Phoenix to get back in the game.
The Jazz scored one basket over a five minute stretch spanning the second and third quarters. Phoenix took advantage of the drought, scoring easily in transition.
The Suns used a 10-2 run before halftime to cut Utah's lead to four and then opened the second half with three unanswered baskets. Morris scored a driving layup to finish the rally and give the Suns a 53-51 lead. It marked Phoenix's first lead since scoring the game's first basket.
Utah finally got going when Trey Burke drained a long jumper to ignite an 11-0 Jazz run. By the time Hayward ended the spurt with another jumper, the Jazz were back in front 62-55.