NBA; Suns lean on Deandre Ayton to squeak by Jazz

Ayton against the NBA

Deandre Ayton #22 during the Phoenix Suns’ top game Torrey Craig #0 after scoring against the Utah Jazz in the second half of an NBA game at Footprint Center on November 26, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Deandre Ayton scored 29 points and picked up 21 rebounds to help the Phoenix Suns win 113-112 at home against the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.

Ayton made a big last-minute steal, scoring 11 of 19 goals, providing three assists and saving two shots to give the Suns their second win in as many nights.

Devin Booker added 27 points as the Suns won their fourth straight game after surviving a tough final minute.

Jordan Clarkson scored 22 and Collin Sexton had 20, but the Jazz failed to maintain their 10-point lead early on on their way to their highest fourth consecutive loss of the season.

The defeat ended a difficult schedule for the Jazz, who played six games in nine nights, including two against Phoenix. The Jazz won the previous match on November 18, 134-133, in Salt Lake City.

Phoenix didn’t score in the final 2:03 of the game, but Utah could only take two points from Clarkson’s free-throw line with 26 seconds left. Booker missed the point 3 with 2.1 seconds left, but Ayton grabbed the rebound of the attack to seal the victory.

The Suns have now beaten the Jazz in eight of their last 10 meetings. Utah, which started the season 10-3, lost for the seventh time in nine outings.

The Jazz scored the first five points and held the lead throughout the first quarter, leading by 10 points in the second quarter.

The Suns used a 9-0 scoreline, capped by Ish Wainright’s 3-pointer, to tighten things up back to 40-40. Sexton gave Utah a six-point lead, and the Jazz entered the locker room at halftime 54-51 thanks to Clarkson’s last-second strike.

Utah maintained that three-point lead throughout the third quarter even though Booker picked up 14 points this time around.

Damion Lee started the game 7-0 for the Suns with a treble, followed by shoves from Mikal Bridges and Ayton.

Utah responded with five points in a row, but the Suns went on to answer the Jazz and used Ayton’s three-point play to take the lead four more times with the game down to 3:52.

Both teams entered the second night of back-to-back competition. Phoenix beat Detroit at home, while the Jazz knocked out at Golden State on Friday.


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