Favors powers Jazz to first win, 118-91 over Suns
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — This is a much different Utah Jazz offense than the one that had pronounced scoring struggles throughout last season.
Utah dominated around the basket Saturday night and pulled away for a 118-91 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
The Jazz overwhelmed Phoenix in numerous offensive categories. Utah outscored the Suns 66-42 in the paint and enjoyed a 52-34 edge in rebounds.
It paid off for the Jazz in transition. Utah outscored Phoenix 35-21 in fast-break points and had a 19-11 edge in second-chance points. The Jazz simply got easier and easier looks at the basket as the game progressed.
“That’s impressive for us,” Jazz center Derrick Favors said. “We need that for the rest of the year. We got to be able to control the paint and get easy points in the paint.”
Favors set the tone early for Utah’s inside domination. He scored a career-high 32 points and added nine rebounds, mostly before halftime. Favors had 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting and six rebounds in the first half.
His effort helped the Jazz overcome a slow start. They rallied from a 9-2 deficit by scoring on six straight possessions and outscored Phoenix 31-13 over the final 8:59 of the first quarter.
“They were denying the wings real hard,” Favors said. “Gordon (Hayward) and Alec (Burks) couldn’t get open or nothing. I just decided to take it upon myself to get something going.”
Hayward added 24 points and 10 boards, while Trevor Booker added 14 points and nine rebounds off the bench to help the Jazz (1-2) get their victory of the season.
“It’s nice to win, but we won doing the things that I think we want to do,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We were rewarded for playing the right way.”
Gerald Green had 16 points off the bench for the Suns (2-1), who shot just 14 of 43 (32.6 percent) from the field in the second half. Markieff Morris added 13 points and Marcus Morris chipped in 12.
Phoenix never really found an offensive rhythm after halftime. The Suns had a 60-59 lead early in the third quarter but Hayward scored 14 points in the period, including some big baskets in a decisive 11-0 run that put the Jazz back ahead 70-60.
Phoenix never got closer than eight after that and Utah finished off the Suns when Dante Exum drained a 3-pointer to spark a 14-2 run that put the Jazz ahead 105-81 with 6:01 remaining.
“They did a good job tonight,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “They pushed the ball. They had a lot more energy. They had a couple of days to think about some of their recent games and they got after it.”
Utah opened a 49-31 lead with 7:35 remaining before halftime after Exum and Hayward drilled 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions. Markieff Morris started and ended a 14-0 run that cut that advantage to 59-55 at halftime.
Phoenix simply ran out of gas in the second half, however, and the Suns dropped their third straight regular-season game against Utah dating to last season.
Suns: Phoenix won its first two regular-season games for the 12th time in team history. The Suns have made the playoffs 10 of the previous 11 times that happened. The lone exception was in 2013-14. ... 16 is a magic number for the Phoenix backcourt. When Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe each scored 16 or more points last season, the Suns went 16-0 in those games.
Jazz: Exum and Hayward combined to shoot 6 of 9 (66.7 percent) from 3-point range. Their teammates, however, went 0 for 16. ... Booker is averaging a team-high 12.0 points off the bench, along with 6.3 rebounds. His output ranks among the top 25 in the NBA for bench players in both categories. “He was energy - just energy off the bench,” Snyder said. “He played the right way.”
FAMILY AFFAIR: Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris started strong for Phoenix. The twin brothers went 6 of 8 from the field in the first quarter and combined for 13 of the Suns’ 22 points. They finished with a combined 25 points on 11-of-20 shooting.
Suns: Visit the Lakers on Tuesday.
Jazz: Visit the Clippers on Monday.