Jazz 87, Suns 80: Nine-point 2nd quarter helps doom Suns

Utah center Al Jefferson, left, battles the Suns' Marcin Gortat. Jefferson led the Jazz with 21 points; Gortat had 18.


PHOENIX - Al Jefferson helped the Utah Jazz dominate the paint and the game Friday night.

Jefferson scored 21 points and Paul Millsap added 19 to lead the Utah Jazz past the slumping Phoenix Suns, 87-80 on Friday night.

"We kept attacking and didn't settle for too many outside shots," Jefferson said. "We kept attacking the paint."

Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which has dropped seven of eight. Goran Dragic added 17 points, but only six after the first quarter.

The Jazz were dominant down low, hitting 30 of 58 shots in the paint for a 60-28 advantage.

"That's how we've got to play," Millsap said. "We come out and put it all on the floor and good things are going to happen."

Not including Utah's six free throws, the Jazz scored only 18 points outside the key.

"Almost everything they did was in the paint except a couple of jump shots," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "That's the toughest thing."

Gordon Hayward added 14 points off the bench for the Jazz, who have won consecutive games for the first time since they won four in a row Dec. 5-12.

Utah's bench outscored Phoenix's reserves 32-14 and scored 25 points off a season-high 21 Suns turnovers.

"They weren't forced," Gentry said of the turnovers. "We threw it away."

The Suns shot 77.8 percent in the first quarter to take a 31-25 lead, with three of four starters scoring eight points or more.

But that changed in the second quarter, when the Suns' second unit went 8:24 without scoring. Fortunately for Phoenix, the Jazz were just as cold - the teams combined to miss 21 straight over a 4:28 span and Utah led only 42-40 at halftime.

"I don't know what happened," Dragic said. "The second unit didn't move the ball as well."

Phoenix's nine second-quarter points were a season low for any quarter and just two points off the franchise record for futility.

Randy Foye gave the Jazz the lead for good, 47-44, on a three-pointer with 9:41 left in the third quarter - Utah's only three on nine attempts. Four minutes later, Jefferson had six straight points to key a 14-2 run that stretched Utah's lead to 65-52.

Phoenix pulled no closer than seven after that.

Utah had not won in Phoenix since March 2010.

Utah was without center Enes Kanter, who sprained his right ankle in a win Wednesday over Minnesota.