Without Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz fail against the Phoenix Suns

In what felt like a repeat of the last time they played, the Utah Jazz nearly beat the Phoenix Sunsbut Chris Paul helped take the win, 105-97

It’s not just Chris Paul who played well, Devin Booker had a big night scoring 43 points with 12 rebounds and 4 assists. Paul and Booker’s one-two punch is as good as any in the league. It’s a luxury for the Suns to be able to let Booker take charge of most of the game and then let Chris Paul take over at the end.

And yet, the Jazz were in this game until Hassan Whiteside decided to get an offensive foul, then compounded the error with a technical. That sealed victory for the Suns who likely won it regardless.

For Utah, there was a lot to digest. First, Jordan Clarkson had one of those patent Jordan Clarkson nights. To start the game, he had the fans tearing their hair out with some of the decisions he was making and then he caught fire and was the main reason the Jazz had a chance to win this one. Clarkson scored 26 that game shooting 6/12 from three and creating electricity that nearly helped the Jazz get angry.

We’ve mentioned this before, but Hassan Whiteside was a mixed bag in this one. Sometimes he looks so disinterested and other times he looks like the elite rim protector/rim roller Jazz fans have seen for much of the year. It’s clear he’s better served as a replacement for Rudy Gobert, but the effort needs to be more cohesive. But such is Whiteside’s career. He has the physical tools to be dominant, and sometimes he is, but there are so many times he looks so unmotivated.

Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

If the Jazz had gotten a big night from Bojan Bogdanovic, they might have won this one. But Bogdanovic is dealing with an injury and it was very apparent. Bogdanovic shot 3/13 from the field and that made things difficult for the team to overcome without his score. It’s a shame because Bogdanovic played one of the best basketballs in his career before the injury. If the Jazz want to succeed this offseason, they will need Bogdanovic to do well. Otherwise, it’s going to be really difficult.

It was an interesting split of minutes tonight. Trent Forrest, who left the game late after stepping on a referee’s foot and twisting his ankle, seemed a little hesitant at times. That said, he looked like himself with good defense and confidence on the attacking side. We also saw 11 minutes for Danuel House. Home brings shooting and defense and size. Everything Jazz needs. It’s clear that 11 minutes at this point isn’t enough for House. When he’s on the ground, it has a palpable impact. Maybe it’s because the instinct to keep your man in front of you hasn’t been kicked out of him yet, so players are turning to Rudy Gobert.

With everything going on with the team, it’s encouraging that they’ve been able to follow the Suns without their top two players, but they need Gobert and Mitchell to come back firing because the next month of basketball is a program difficult period. If the Jazz aren’t careful, they’ll see their standings drop even further.

Ada J. Kenney