Jason S. Walker
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
Phoenix wins a key challenge that denied Markkanen an attempt to send the game to triple-OT
The Utah Jazz’s 140-137 double-overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns may have ended in the worst possible way given how crazy the game had been to that point. Almost every time the Phoenix Suns tried to pull away from the Utah Jazz, the Jazz managed to find a way to come back.
From a nine-point lead for the Suns in the first quarter, to a 30-30 tie at the end of the first. Then an 11-point lead in the second quarter was rallied from to tie the game. Even late leads in the fourth quarter and overtime were overcome.
Every time the Suns made a push forward, the Jazz matched it, usually in thrilling fashion.
And then it ended with a challenge surrounding a foul initially called on Kevin Durant but later reversed.
On a last-second prayer of a shot by Lauri Markkanen, Durant was called for hitting Markkanen on the arm. That would have put Markkanen on the line for three free throws with a chance to tie the game at 140.
The Suns challenged the ruling, won the challenge, and won the game.
A rather unsatisfying ending for any basketball fan, even under the assumption that the review’s result was correct.
Utah spent the entire game rallying from deficits, even tying the game in thrilling fashion in the fourth quarter and overtime, only to lose the game by having referees stare at a monitor for several minutes.
But had the Jazz taken care of business in regulation, overtime would have been unnecessary. Despite having to overcome early pushes by Phoenix, the fourth quarter actually saw the Jazz hold its largest lead of the game, an eight-point advantage, 103-95, with just over six minutes to play. But the Suns rallied back and had a 115-113 lead with less than a minute to play.
Utah took up most of the rest of that minute clamoring to get the desperately needed two points to tie the game and ended up getting three offensive rebounds before a put-back from Lauri Markkanen finally tied the game at 115-all.
Then Devin Booker’s game-winning 3-point attempt missed and the two sides went to the first overtime.
Phoenix led for nearly ever second of the first overtime, starting with a 3-pointer from Eric Gordon 22 seconds in, up until the very last heartbeat of the extra time.
With 10.1 seconds left in overtime and down 126-123, the Utah Jazz had the ball and a chance to tie and potentially send the game to another extra period in a rematch with the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns chose the increasingly popular strategy of fouling the Jazz as soon as the ball was in-bounded, sending Markkanen to the line where the forward scored his 33rd and 34th points of the evening.
Utah had to foul twice but managed to only let 1.9 seconds off the clock before sending Gordon to the charity stripe. But Gordon missed the front end of his two shots, leaving a door open for the Jazz to tie with a layup instead of forcing a 3-pointer.
Keyonte George sprinted down the court trying to hit a game-tying layup but his shot deflected off the rim and backboard. However, Collin Sexton heroically sailed in for a tip-in layups to tie the game literally at the buzzer.
The second overtime played out similarly to the first, with Phoenix taking an early lead and holding on until the Jazz failed on last-second rally part three.
Utah was led by Markkanen’s 38 points and 17 rebounds to which he added a pair of steals and a pair of blocks. Talen Horton-Tucker broke out of his slump this year to go for 25 points on an efficient 9 of 18 shooting. Jordan Clarkson added 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists. George ended the game with just seven points on 2 of 12 shooting, but did have 11 assists and five rebounds.
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