In a thrilling double-overtime showdown, Kevin Durant delivered a stellar performance, totaling 39 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds to lead the Phoenix Suns to a hard-fought 140-137 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night. The Suns secured their third consecutive win and triumphed over the Jazz for the second time in three days.
Durant’s exceptional contribution was complemented by Devin Booker, who scored 22 of his 26 points after halftime, and Eric Gordon, who added 20 points. Jusuf Nurkic and Grayson Allen also made significant contributions with 18 and 14 points, respectively.
“I thought we had good momentum on the offensive side of the ball all game,” Durant remarked. “We stayed with that throughout the fourth quarter and the two overtimes.”
The Jazz, despite holding advantages in second-chance points (27-18) and fastbreak points (26-12), couldn’t secure the win. Lauri Markkanen led Utah with an impressive 38 points and 17 rebounds, supported by Talen Horton-Tucker (25 points), Jordan Clarkson (22 points), Collin Sexton (18 points), and John Collins (15 points).
Jazz coach Will Hardy acknowledged defensive lapses, stating, “There were some moments, especially as we got late in the game, into overtime, where our execution defensively on the weak side was not what we wanted it to be.”
The game reached a dramatic climax with a crucial referee decision involving Durant’s blocked shot on Markkanen. Initially called a foul, the decision would have sent Markkanen to the free-throw line for three shots. However, after review, officials overturned the call, ruling Durant got the ball first.
“It was ridiculous to even call that,” Durant expressed. “I knew I blocked the shot and I knew I didn’t touch him at all. But that’s just how the game is.”
Despite the unsatisfying end, the Suns emerged victorious, and coach Frank Vogel emphasized their confidence in overtime situations: “We welcome overtime because we feel like we’re a team that should win those games.”
The Jazz, known for their resilience, rallied multiple times during the game, tying it in thrilling fashion in the fourth quarter and overtime. However, their efforts fell short in the second overtime, resulting in a challenging loss.
Utah’s Lauri Markkanen, reflecting on the final play, said, “I thought (it was a foul). I was getting ready to shoot three free throws.”
As the Suns look ahead to hosting Portland in an NBA In-Season Tournament game, and the Jazz prepare to visit the Los Angeles Lakers for another tournament matchup, the memories of this intense double-overtime clash will linger in the minds of players and fans alike.