In a sense the Phoenix Suns (12-22) "turned over" this game to the Utah Jazz (17-17) thanks in large part to a season-high in team turnovers.
"I thought the last three quarters were the worst we could have possibly played," said head coach Alvin Gentry after the loss. "The second quarter was as poorly as we have played all season. At the end of the night they get 87 points -- they get 60 of them in the paint. It wasn't a good game."
The team as a whole shared the load as equal opportunists with their play-making look like it was free t-shirt time on the court. As a team they dished 21 total turnovers that led to 25 points by the Jazz. A total of 60 points in the paint and 25 on the break are nearly impossible to overcome. The display in the second quarter was about as bad as it gets. Gentry was especially unhappy with the second quarter play.
We went 15 straight possessions without a basket because we were not executing and we weren't getting into play sets quickly enough. Then we end up taking some really difficult shots -- forced shots because we were on the clock. We had no problem with that in the first quarter, we were moving the basketball and we just have to do a better job of getting into sets quicker so we that we have options.
After that it only got worse as the Suns scored a combined 49 points in the second, third, and fourth quarters combined. That was something the team would do on occasion in a single quarter only a few short years ago.
In the first quarter the team shot 77.8% from the field with 10 assists and only three turnovers. They scored 30+ points (31) for only the sixth time this season and had an impressive start to the game. When the buzzer sounded and the reserves came in it was a different story.
Through the rest of the game the team shot 35.1% from the field (25.1% from three) with 13 assists and 18 turnovers. They actually had more turnovers than assists and almost as many as shots made from the field (20) between the second and fourth quarters.
The offensive inefficiencies were daunting to say the least.
Part of the issue came from players stepping outside of their normal role and trying to make plays. There were stretches throughout the game where Goran Dragic would not touch the ball on a fastbreak or play leaving Jared Dudley (6 turnovers) or someone else responsible for creating shots.
"I think it was guys out of rhythm and sometimes I should have shot a shot and instead I tried to drop it off to Gortat," stated Dudley about his turnovers. "But we had bad communication. Other times I felt they (the Jazz) did a good job denying or pressuring at certain times. They scout our plays like we scout their plays. They did a better job taking us out of ours than we did theirs."
Those types of errors and miscues lead to the team only scoring 31 points combined in the second and third quarter as the Jazz built an insurmountable lead.
Consistency has to be established in order for the team to win games, but, in this isolated case, they consistently did the one thing in basketball that disallows consistency; turnovers.