The Utah Jazz — well, part of the Utah Jazz — lost to the Phoenix Suns, 115-109, on Monday night at the Footprint Center.

Donovan Mitchell (concussion, not with team), Rudy Gobert (left calf strain), Bojan Bogdanovic (left ring finger avulsion fracture), Mike Conley (injury management), Royce O’Neale (right knee tendonitis) and Joe Ingles (right ankle sprain) all missed the matchup against the league-leading Suns, but the group that was available to play forced Phoenix to work for the win.

High notes

  • The one criticism of Trent Forrest is that he doesn’t have a reliable jumper. It’s true and it’s warranted. But Forrest has done such a good job of being a reliable player in his role, despite the fact that he isn’t a shooter and that’s a really hard thing to do as a point guard in this league. He is a great playmaker and is getting better and better every game at creating for himself and finding seams. When he gets into the lane you can tell that he is learning from Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell. The game has slowed down for him and he’s an absolute weapon. On the defensive end, things are even better for Forrest and he gives it every single minute that he’s on the floor and he’s often picking up guys full court — guys like Chris Paul and Stephen Curry. He finished with 17 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
    “He was great. I mean, anyone that watched the game would feel the same. ... He’s just steadily improved.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder on Trent Forrest
  • Elijah Hughes might be the most confident player that barely gets any playing time. It’s such a testament to the work that he’s done with the Stars and the off-day work that he does behind the scenes. He’s such a pure scorer and walks into shots like he could do it in his sleep.
  • Jared Butler is definitely a player that plays a lot better when he sees the ball go through the hoop. It really settles him and leads to him being less rattled when things don’t go his way. He still seems like a player that is going to have a lot of promise when he is a part of a regular rotation. He had a cool 13 off the bench and hit 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
  • Danuel House was asked to do a lot for the Jazz on Monday and he’s doing it while having been with the Jazz for just over two weeks. He’s out there guarding Devin Booker and crashing the boards and sacrificing his body for plays and all the while he’s in constant communication with the players and with Quin Snyder. He really wants a spot on this team and it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t deserve it. He had one hardship 10-day contract with the team and he’s on his first standard 10-day deal and he has impressed enough, in my opinion, to at least be worth a second standard 10-day at the very least. He gives the kind of defensive effort and quickness that this team could really use. House finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, two blocks and got to the free-throw line nine times, more than any other player on the court.
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Low notes

  • The Jazz shot just 68.2% from the free-throw line. That would look pretty bad if the Suns hadn’t taken a single free-throw attempt in the first half and then shot just 53.3% on their own free throws.
  • But there’s a little more behind the free-throw thing that I want to explore. When I see that the Suns didn’t take a single free throw in the first half, it makes me think one of two things; either the Jazz weren’t being physical enough and contesting shots the way they should have been; or, the Suns weren’t going at the Jazz hard enough. It was no secret who was on the floor on Monday. There were a lot of players that usually don’t get rotational minutes and so they aren’t going to get friendly calls and they’ll probably get called for some ticky-tack stuff. You could definitely say that the Jazz were playing disciplined and were defending without fouling. That might be some of it, but it wasn’t all of it.
  • Jordan Clarkson heated up in the fourth quarter and hit some shots that made the Suns unable to relax in the closing minutes, but he brought the heat a little too late.

Flat notes

  • I just don’t understand Hassan Whiteside, and it wouldn’t be the first time. It seems like he only wants to play if there’s a chance of winning. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I do understand. When the game started it looked like Whiteside had already decided that because the Jazz were playing without their starters and Ingles that they didn’t have a chance. To say that he wasn’t giving any effort in the first quarter would be the understatement of the season. I totally understand that Monday night was his first game back after being out with COVID-19 but he wouldn’t have been cleared to play if he wasn’t ready to play, and it wasn’t his conditioning that was the problem. Whiteside was lazy on screens, wasn’t giving effort on the boards, was giving up on plays and was generally just going through the motions. Then all of a sudden the Jazz (because of the effort of the other guys on the court) actually were competing with the Suns and got the lead and that seemed to wake Whiteside up. But it wasn’t consistent and it’s a really weird switch that he has. It’s so hard to even watch the other players on the court when there is one player that is so clearly not giving it as much as the rest of the guys. At this rate, Whiteside isn’t likely to garner nearly as much interest as was thought early on in the season, if any. If he continues to have swings where his effort is in question so much, it really wouldn’t surprise me if this was his last season in the league.
    “Just do it. At some point, like just do it. You do it, you win. When you don’t, you lose. Compete.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder on what the Jazz need to do to keep Monday’s energy