Morris leads Suns past Jazz 112-101


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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Markieff Morris score 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting and Goran Dragic added 19 points and nine assists to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 112-101 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.

Eric Bledsoe also scored 19 points off the bench and Miles Plumlee chipped in 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who beat the Jazz for the second time this month. Phoenix had no trouble getting into an offensive rhythm early, shooting 41-of-75 (54.7 percent) from the field.

It kept Utah at a comfortable distance for much of the game despite a strong offensive outing for the Jazz. Marvin Williams had 18 points and Alec Burks added 16 off the bench to lead Utah, who lost despite shooting 40-of-83 (48.2 percent) from the field.

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The Jazz also had 39-30 edge on the glass. Utah outscored Phoenix 60-52 in the paint and had a 20-11 advantage in second chance points.

The Jazz made four straight baskets to open the game - culminating in a 3-pointer from Marvin Williams to make it 9-0.

Phoenix regrouped after a quick timeout and the Suns quickly erased the Jazz lead behind hot shooting from Dragic.

The Jazz clung to a slim lead until Dragic buried a 3-pointer to put Phoenix back in front at 44-42. It was the beginning of a 13-3 run that helped the Suns take control of the game before halftime. Morris capped the spurt with a 3-pointer, extending Phoenix's lead to 54-45 with 3:25 left before halftime.

Weak defense proved to be a huge obstacle for the Jazz through all four quarters. Phoenix shot 24-of-38 (63.2 percent) from the field and 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) from the perimeter in the first half alone. With the Suns getting into a good rhythm offensively, creating distance between them and the Jazz was not a difficult task.

Phoenix shot 12-of-18 (66.7 percent) from the floor in the third quarter to break the game open after halftime. The Suns attacked Utah from all over the floor and were able to immediately answer whatever the Jazz did on the offensive end.

Utah drew as close as nine points when Williams hit a pair of free throws to make it 78-69 with 5:33 left in the quarter. Morris answered by running off Phoenix's next three baskets to spark a 10-0 run. Bledsoe capped off the spurt by turning a steal into an uncontested layup - giving the Suns an 88-69 lead with 2:46 remaining in the third quarter.

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John Coon

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