Markkanen scores career-high 38 points, Jazz edge Suns

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Lauri Markkanen scored a career-high 38 points, including an improbable pull-up jumper to beat the shot clock with 38.5 seconds left, and the Utah Jazz beat the Phoenix Suns 134-133 on night Friday.

”I don’t know what the ceiling is for Lowry. I don’t think any of us do based on what we watch every night,” Utah coach Will Hardy said.

In an incredibly entertaining offensive shootout, Utah’s defense made the difference down the stretch. The Suns shot 58.2 percent through three quarters, but went 10 of 27 in the fourth quarter and turned the ball over in the final minute.

“With all the emotions from our losing streak, we just wanted to try to find a way to win and you just do what you have to do in a game like this,” said Mike Conley, who requested a travel call and had a Block shot in the final minutes.

After scoring 45 points through the first three quarters, Suns star Devin Booker had just two free throws in the final quarter and one foul shot at the buzzer to finish with 49.

“He had a good game, but I rode him too much,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. “It’s not what we want to do in the long term. We’ve lost a lot of guys and we needed him to score like that to have a chance. But we’re just putting a lot of pressure on him to bring us offensively because we’re not getting the stops we need.”

Markkanen had five 30-point games this season and scored his 38 points on just 18 field goal attempts.

“His teammates know how good he is and how good he can be, and they probably encourage him more than I do,” Hardy said.

For example, Jordan Clarkson marveled at his 15-for-18 shooting as he scanned the box score in the locker room after the game. “Damn, that’s good,” he said.

Booker scored his 19th game with at least 40 points, but he couldn’t get the ball or many good looks at the end. He also had 10 assists and eight rebounds.

”We were fighting uphill the whole game. I think we gave them a lot of confidence going into the game,” Booker said. And maybe they spent too much energy on the return.

Chris Paul missed his fifth game with a right heel injury and the Suns went 2-3 without him.

With 7:28 left in the game, Damion Lee gave the Suns their first lead of the game at 121-120 with a 3-pointer. The game went back and forth until Clarkson and Markkanen hit slow-clock jumpers with high-difficulty clutch timing.

Before that last shot, Markkanen said, “Really, it was a lot of layups and a lot of dunks. “My teammates passed the ball to me when I was open and we ran some good things for easy looks.”

Beasley had matched his season-high 18 points by halftime and finished with seven 3-pointers and a season-high 27 points. Clarkson added 20 points and Conley had 13 points and 10 assists.

Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges each scored 17 points for Phoenix, and Torrey Craig had a season-high 16 points.

The Jazz led by 19 in the first half after a hot 10-for-12 start from the field, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range. Utah led 74-66 at halftime, marking the fourth game this season with at least 74 points at halftime.

After the Jazz surprised the league out of the gates with a 10-3 record that had them atop the Western Conference, they had lost three in a row before this upset win against Phoenix.

TIPS

Chance: Booker had 14 points, six assists and four rebounds in the first quarter. . There were 30 fouls in the first half, 15 for each team. . The Suns shot a game-high 52.5 percent in Wednesday’s win against Golden State and shot 52.1 against Utah.

Jazz: Jared Vanderbilt fouled out after six points, 11 rebounds and a career-high eight assists. . Utah had 32 assists. . The Jazz made 16 of their 31 three-point attempts and were 56% on field goals.

NEXT

Suns: Host New York on Sunday.

Jazz: In Portland Saturday night.

More AP NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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