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Devin Booker Drops 43 and 12 as Suns Hold Off Jordan Clarkson, Jazz

Doric SamJanuary 27, 2022

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

The Phoenix Suns notched their eighth straight win Wednesday with a 105-97 road victory over the Utah Jazz. Devin Booker led the way with 43 points and 12 rebounds as the Suns improved to 38-9, which remains the best record in the NBA.

It was Booker's 16th career 40-point game, setting a new franchise record.

NBA @NBA

The Biyombo block leads to the Booker slam on the <a href="https://twitter.com/Suns?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Suns</a> fast break!<br><br>Phoenix and Utah NOW on ESPN! <a href="https://t.co/gzaZbEnSmL">pic.twitter.com/gzaZbEnSmL</a>

Bally Sports Arizona @BALLYSPORTSAZ

Book it. <a href="https://t.co/wxkERV3QTt">pic.twitter.com/wxkERV3QTt</a>

Chris Paul added 21 points with 15 coming in the fourth quarter. It was the second meeting in three days between the two teams, as the Suns also defeated the Jazz on Monday at home. Phoenix is now 19-4 in away games, the best in the league.

Utah fell to 30-19 after its third consecutive loss and has lost five of its last six games. Jordan Clarkson led the team with 26 points off the bench. Mike Conley added 16 points and 10 assists, and Hassan Whiteside had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The Jazz were playing without two of their top three players as Donovan Mitchell (concussion) and Rudy Gobert (calf) sat out.


Notable Stats

G Devin Booker, PHX: 43 points (16-of-28 FG), 12 rebounds

G Chris Paul, PHX: 21 points (15 in fourth quarter)

G Jordan Clarkson, UTAH: 26 points (off bench)

G Mike Conley, UTAH: 16 points, 10 assists

C Hassan Whiteside, UTAH: 16 points, 11 rebounds


Booker's Big Night Powers Suns to Victory

It was the Devin Booker Show on Wednesday. Phoenix put the ball in the hands of its best player early and often, and he delivered.

Booker was in attack mode from the jump, pouring in 21 points in the first quarter on 8-of-11 shooting. He had no issues slicing his way through Utah's defense and getting to his spots.

Phoenix Suns @Suns

The pump and the make. <a href="https://t.co/DqPNqjOPIQ">pic.twitter.com/DqPNqjOPIQ</a>

NBA @NBA

17 PTS for Devin Booker in the first 👀<br><br>He's cooking early on ESPN! <a href="https://t.co/iV6jUNH0Gt">pic.twitter.com/iV6jUNH0Gt</a>

Phoenix Suns @Suns

HELLO THERE! <a href="https://t.co/cmy5PyA617">pic.twitter.com/cmy5PyA617</a>

ESPN @espn

Devin Booker dropped 21 points in just the first quarter on ESPN 🍿 <a href="https://t.co/CkppbxDW6R">pic.twitter.com/CkppbxDW6R</a>

Kellan Olson @KellanOlson

Devin Booker with 21-6-4 through the first quarter. Jazz are right there alongside him with 18-10-6.<br><br>Suns up 21.

With Booker leading the charge, the Suns jumped out to a 39-18 lead. But things got quiet in the second when Booker went to the bench, and the Jazz clawed their way back to make it a two-point game at halftime.

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet

Devin Booker checks out and the Jazz go on a 12-4 run to start the 2Q

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet

Devin Booker: 26 points, 4 assists, 10-15 FG<br><br>Rest of Suns: 24 points, 5 assists, 11-26 FG

Booker was aggressive coming out of the break with seven early points. He continued to carry the Suns on his back as no other player had over 10 points through three quarters.

Phoenix Suns @Suns

Book on the attack. <a href="https://t.co/4d7GdwyQ01">pic.twitter.com/4d7GdwyQ01</a>

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet

In case the math didn't stand out, Devin Booker has half of the Suns points and 14 of their 31 made FGs

Booker finally got some help in the fourth quarter as Paul woke up. The veteran point guard had 15 of his 21 points in the final frame. The Suns showed why they are the most clutch team in the league with their play down the stretch.

Phoenix Suns @Suns

CLUTCH TIME. <br><br>BOOK IT! <a href="https://t.co/n4PbHMFrIk">pic.twitter.com/n4PbHMFrIk</a>

The Suns won Wednesday's game because they had the best player on the floor. Booker's performance made up for a mostly quiet performance from a Phoenix supporting cast that is usually pretty balanced on the offensive end.

Thanks to Booker's ability to carry the team, combined with Paul taking over late, the Suns will remain a difficult team to take down. Phoenix looks poised to make a second consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.


Short-Handed Jazz Show Fight in Defeat

Utah knew it would be a struggle against the team with the best record in the NBA without its two best players. And things looked bleak after the Jazz fell behind by 21 after the first quarter.

But Utah refused to go down easily on its home floor and fought its way back with a strong second quarter. The Jazz played strong defense and ran the Suns off the three-point line. The team's offense woke up with Clarkson leading the way, scoring 10 points in the period. Utah outscored Phoenix 30-11 in the second quarter.

Utah Jazz @utahjazz

JC getting it LOUD in here 🗣🗣🗣<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TakeNote?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TakeNote</a> <a href="https://t.co/MdR1CPpZEz">pic.twitter.com/MdR1CPpZEz</a>

Tony Jones @Tjonesonthenba

Impressive comeback by the Jazz. Terrific second quarter for them. They trail the Suns 50-48…..and they got back into the game defensively. Stop after stop

Kellan Olson @KellanOlson

Two big signs the offense is struggling: <br><br>-- Only 1 assist for someone outside of Booker and Paul<br><br>-- Only 9 3PAs

The Jazz tried to keep up in the second half, but they had no answer for Booker. Utah also struggled against Phoenix's defense and shot 29.4 percent from the field in the third quarter. The team's 64 points through three quarters was its lowest total of the season.

But once again, the Jazz didn't go down without a fight. Clarkson ignited the crowd in the fourth quarter with three early triples to cut the lead to single digits.

NBA @NBA

Jordan Clarkson drops 9 straight points for the <a href="https://twitter.com/utahjazz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@utahjazz</a> 🔥<br><br>It's a 4-point game in the fourth on ESPN! <a href="https://t.co/m1YULAXbef">pic.twitter.com/m1YULAXbef</a>

Andy Larsen @andyblarsen

Jordan Clarkson's giving the Jazz a chance in this game through sheer tough shotmaking.

Ultimately, the Suns were able to put the game away, but the Jazz made them work for it.

Despite the loss, Utah should be satisfied with its effort Wednesday. The team could've folded early but kept its composure and managed to make it a competitive game. Once the Jazz get back to full strength, they will have a better chance of keeping up with the elite teams in the Western Conference.


What's Next?

The Suns will try to make it nine straight wins on Friday at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Jazz will look to end their skid in a road matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies that same day.

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