The West’s No. 1 Utah Jazz lost 117-113 in overtime to the West’s No. 2 Suns in Phoenix on Wednesday. The loss closes the gap between the second and first seed with the Suns now just 1.5 games back from the Jazz.

High notes

  • The Jazz followed up a poor shooting night in Dallas with a very rough first half against the Suns. That being said, the Jazz defense kept them within perfect striking distance through the first 24 minutes of play. The Jazz shot 35.4% overall and 14.3% from 3 in the first half and were only down by 11 at halftime. Yes, that’s double-digits but it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been considering how poorly they were shooting and how bad their spacing and passing was in the first half. That’s a huge credit to the Jazz defense.
  • Donovan Mitchell scored 28 of his 41 points in the second half and overtime and that included some seriously timely buckets, including a 3-pointer to tie the game 102-102 with just 10 seconds left in regulation, the shot that sent the game into overtime.
  • Royce O’Neale missed a shot pretty badly (it really wasn’t even a good shot to take) but he got back on the defensive end and blocked the shot of Cameron Payne, a play that resulted in a transition 3 for Bojan Bogdanovic. O’Neale wasn’t hitting shots but he was all over the place making good plays. He only recorded four rebounds on the night, but that’s the kind of number that is misleading. O’Neale was working the boards, tapping balls out for others to get the rebounds and making it tough for the Suns to get rebounds, which in turn slowed Phoenix down. So long as he’s playing like that, you can live with missed shots. I realize that O’Neale did not have a great game, and more on that below.
  • The Jazz had a great third quarter scoring 38 points after a season-low 40 points in the first half, and some really key contributions to get the game close, but it was an awful shooting night overall for them. There are positives to be taken away from that. The Jazz went up against the second-winningest team in the league on a night when they could not buy a bucket and they took the Suns into overtime and gave them all they could handle. If they shoot even close to their season average, this game could have been completely different. The Jazz have that record to hang their hat on.

“We haven’t shot the ball well the past two nights. Two totally different games, you look at tonight, we were right there, two rebounds away. The last game we were down by 20 at one point. We’ve responded in the right way.” — Donovan Mitchell

  • Mike Conley being fully ambidextrous as a shooter is probably not talked about nearly as much as it should be. The Jazz went into the fourth quarter with a lead off an off-hand push shot from Conley, and he can do that kind of stuff all day.

Low notes

  • I said a lot of good things about O’Neale up top and I stand by that, but even when he is not shooting well, he has to take a wide open shot. He will eventually start knocking those shots down but he can’t do it without taking them. Also, in a very tense overtime game, the defensive lapses from the best perimeter defender on the team really stand out.
  • To the point of O’Neale working hard to create second-chances or make rebounding tough, the help outside of O’Neale, especially when Rudy Gobert was out of position on a challenge. It meant that a lot of the work by both Gobert and O’Neale was pretty worthless.

“We’ve all got to get the rebounds. I mean, especially me, I played more than 30 minutes with one board today so I’ve got to be more aggressive and then help my teammates. Rudy is doing a great job on guarding the pick-and-roll so we’ve got to all get there and grab those long rebounds.” — Bojan Bogdanovic

  • While Mitchell made some timely regulation buckets to put the Jazz back in the game and go into overtime, he also missed some really key shots in overtime.
  • Conley and Bogdanovic had really difficult outings from beyond the arc, combining for 2 of 15 on 3-point attempts.
  • The Jazz had just four assists total at the half and finished with just 14 assists on 46 made field goals. The isolation, missed shots and lack of spacing and poor execution in the pick and roll were all to blame and honestly there’s not really a single culprit. It was everyone.
  • The Suns are extremely good in transition, particularly Devin Booker, and it seems like the Jazz might have forgotten that at times on Wednesday.

Flat notes

  • In the third quarter Mitchell hit a 3-pointer and drew a foul and walked backward counting out four on his fingers in representation of the four-point play. But then he missed the free throw. Can’t do that.
  • The Jazz losing some separation in the Western Conference standings makes every single game so much more important. And going into overtime the night before they have to play the Portland Trail Blazers at home on the second night of a back-to-back just makes things even harder.

“Every single game is gonna be tough right now. Every team is fighting for playoff position and we got a tough one tomorrow right away against Portland at home, so you’ve got to get rest and get ready.” — Bojan Bogdanovic