Warren scores 27, Suns win again under Triano, 97-88
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 26, 2017 12:55 PM
Phoenix Suns forward TJ Warren (12) dunks as Utah Jazz forward Ekpe Udoh, right, and forward Thabo Sefolosha (22) look on during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, in Phoenix. The Suns won 97-88. (AP Photo/Matt York)
By Bob Baum, Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) — T.J. Warren scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half and the energetic Phoenix Suns improved to 2-0 under new interim coach Jay Triano with a 97-88 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time).
The Jazz, who lost the previous night to the Clippers in Los Angeles, never led. Phoenix was up by as many as 17 in the first half and 18 in the second.
Devin Booker added 17 for the Suns, including a crucial three-pointer with 1:29 to play after Utah had cut the lead to eight. Alex Len and Tyler Ulis scored 13 apiece. Len also grabbed 13 rebounds.
Rodney Hood scored 22 and Rudy Gobert 16 for the Jazz. Derrick Favors and Ricky Rubio added 15 apiece.
It's been quite a turnaround for Phoenix, which opened the season with the most one-sided loss in its history, 124-76 to Portland, and was clobbered by 42 points to the Clippers two games later.
That led to the firing of coach Earl Watson and the promotion of Triano, former Toronto head coach and head coach of the Canadian national team. Phoenix beat Sacramento in Triano's debut Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time).
Just as they did in their previous game, Phoenix jumped out to a big lead.
It was 10-2 after Booker's basket with nine minutes left in the first quarter and, after Josh Jackson threw a slick behind-the-back pass to Len for a dunk, Phoenix was up 32-15 with 9:42 to play in the half.
But the Jazz, who played the previous night in a loss to the Clippers in the second half, finally got some offense going, cutting the Phoenix lead to 43-40. But Ulis responded with a three-pointer and the Suns finished the half with a 5-1 spurt to lead 48-41 at the break.
Phoenix had a fast to start the second half, too. The Suns scored the first six points of the third quarter and outscored the Jazz 21-10 over the first 8.5 minutes of the period to take their biggest lead, 69-51, on Ulis' 14 footer with 3:30 remaining.
Phoenix was up 83-65 on Warren's basket with 9:02 to play. But the Jazz rallied with a 16-6 run to cut it to 89-81 with 3:31 remaining. After a two-minute scoring drought by both teams, Booker sank the three and the Suns never were seriously threatened again.
Jazz: Minnesota committed 24 turnovers to the Suns' 16. ... Hood played despite a mild left leg strain. ... Utah fell to 0-3 on the road. ... Jazz swept the series the last two seasons.
Suns: Marquese Chriss injured his left leg and had be assisted off the court with 3:29 to play. ... The Phoenix bench outscored the Jazz reserves 38-9. ...Triano joins Jerry Colangelo, Scott Skiles, Alvin Gentry, Lindsey Hunter and Jeff Hornacek as Suns coaches to win their first two games.
Jazz: Utah returns home to face the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time).
Suns: Phoenix opens a six-game road trip at Portland on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time).