5 takeaways from Phoenix Suns' rally past Utah Jazz with Chris Paul taking over in 4th quarter

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Chris Paul was at it again Monday night.

Drawing fouls on his Ph.D. rip through move.

Dropping dimes and once again closing the show.

Scoring 15 of his season-high 27 points in the fourth quarter, Paul led the Suns to a 115-109 victory over a game, but short-handed, Jazz team before a ninth consecutive home sellout crowd of 17,071 at Footprint Center.

Devin Booker scored a game-high 33 after an 11-point outing on 5-of-23 shooting in Saturday's win. He set the tone early as Phoenix led by as many as 13 in the first half, but the Jazz fought their way back to take a 95-91 lead with 9:50 left in the game.

At that point, Suns coach Monty Williams put Landry Shamet in the game for Booker.

When Williams put Booker back in, Phoenix led by six, 102-95, with 6:17 left.

Paul took over.

NBA: SCOREBOARD | STANDINGS | STATISTICS

He scored nine points in that 11-0 run and assisted on the other with Bismack Biyombo getting an interior bucket. This was all part of Paul nearly posting a triple-double as the 17-year veteran dished out 14 of the team's 28 assists and grabbed nine rebounds in 40 minutes, two nights after playing 41 minutes in Saturday's home win over Indiana.

Paul did have season-high seven turnovers, one short of tying his career-high, but only one came in the fourth as he played all 12 minutes of the quarter.

With Monday's victory, these 2021-22 Suns (37-9) tied as the team’s best start to a season through the first 46 games in franchise history, matching the 2006-07 squad.

Extending the longest active win streak in the league to seven, Phoenix won its fifth straight game over the Jazz with its last loss coming October 28, 2019.

Here are five takeaways from Monday's win with Suns team owner Robert Sarver present as Phoenix plays Utah (30-18) again Wednesday in Salt Lake City on ESPN.

Suns owner Robert Sarver applauds a play by the Suns against the Utah Jazz at the Footprint Center on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.
Suns owner Robert Sarver applauds a play by the Suns against the Utah Jazz at the Footprint Center on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.

1. Booker got up a season-high 35 shots and was five FGAs shy of matching his career-high of 40 attempts when he scored a career-high 70 against Boston.

In the second half, Booker went 5-of-18 after going 9-of-17 in the first.

The fourth quarter?

The two-time All-Star missed all six of his shot attempts, going 0-for-4 from 3.

After the game, Booker said he'll keep shooting, but he's becoming more than a scorer and is on a better team. So he can have a fourth quarter like that in a win and impact the outcome in other ways.

Booker's defensive stop late in the game on Jordan Clarkson, who had one of his typical scoring streaks in the fourth quarter, was just as important as his fast scoring start.

Clarkson scored a team-high 22 with nine coming in the fourth quarter on 3-of-6 shooting from 3, but Booker shut him down with the stop and steal with Phoenix leading, 115-109, with 48.5 seconds left.

2. Cam Johnson came into Monday's game averaging 17.8 points on 55.1% shooting (50% from 3) in his six starts for Jae Crowder.

He topped those averages in a starting role Monday as Crowder (wrist) missed Monday's game as well as Deandre Ayton (ankle) and Cameron Payne (wrist).

Scoring 20 points, Johnson went 7-of-12 from the field, hitting 5-of-8 from 3. So he shot 58.3% from the field overall, 62.5% from 3.

As Williams said, Johnson could start for a lot of NBA teams, including his own.

Crowder and Ayton are day-to-day as Ayton missed a fourth straight game with a right ankle sprain suffered in the first quarter of a win at Detroit while Payne will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Payne and Crowder sustained their injuries to their non-shooting wrists on similar plays in which they drove to the basket and hit the floor hard after drawing contact from the Pacers backup bigs Isaiah Jackson and Goga Bitadze, respectively.

Having a deep team helps compensate for the loss. That starts with Johnson.

3. The Jazz were without their starting lineup plus one.

No Donovan Mitchell. Concussion protocols.

Didn't make the trip to Golden State. So he stayed home.

No Bojan Bogdanović (left finger avulsion fracture), Joe Ingles (right ankle sprain), Royce O’Neale (right knee tendonitis), Mike Conley (right knee injury maintenance) or Rudy Gobert (left calf strain), either.

The Suns were shorthanded, too, but they've been without Dario Saric (knee) all season and haven't had Frank Kaminsky (knee) and Abdel Nader (knee) for most of the season.

So while being without Ayton, Crowder and Payne is big, Phoenix still had its All-Star backcourt on the floor. As Jazz coach Quin Snyder said before the game, "I know CP's out there. I know Devin's out there."

What Snyder also knows is his short-handed team made the Suns earn this one, but expect some of those guys who didn't play Monday to do so Wednesday.

4. The Jazz may have caught the Suns off guard by going small.

That put Bismack Biyombo in a tough situation as Rudy Gay and Eric Paschall put the ball on the deck and scored.

The Jazz had seven players reach double figures, shot 45.2% from 3, 49.4% overall against the second-best defense in the league.

And did so without guys named Mitchell, Ingles and Bogdanović.

So looking forward to seeing what adjustments both teams will make in the rematch.

Will the Jazz try to go small again even if Gobert plays? That may depend if the Suns have Ayton and Crowder back, as they're both day-to-day.

If the Jazz went small, Crowder could play the five and Ayton moves his feet as good as any big man.

Phoenix Suns center Bismack Biyombo (18) shoots against the Utah Jazz at the Footprint Center on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.
Phoenix Suns center Bismack Biyombo (18) shoots against the Utah Jazz at the Footprint Center on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.

5. Biyombo has become an instant crowd favorite as is JaVale McGee.

They play hard, make effort plays and can deliver a double-double at any time.

Biyombo did it again with 16 and 13 Monday night for his third one in his last four games. The veteran center drew the loudest cheer after hitting a second free following a miss in the fourth quarter.

The only roar that came close to that was when two-way player Ish Wainright knocked the ball off a Jazz defender when trapped in the corner.

However, Paul continues to show why Suns General Manager James Jones made the trade not only get him, but to trade away crowd favorites Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre Jr. as part of the deal.

Just keep this in mind.

The Suns went 51-21 in Paul's first year in Phoenix to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010. They had the second-best record of the regular season to Utah.

He only missed two games in the regular season and one was for rest in the regular-season finale.

Then Phoenix reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993 and was two wins away from bringing home its first title.

Paul missed two games in health and safety protocols after playing through a shoulder injury suffered in the first round against the Lakers. He returned to have an epic night in the Game 6 clincher in Los Angeles to propel the Suns past the Clippers in the conference finals.

The Suns signed him to a four-year, $120-million deal in the offseason.

They've had 15 players miss at least one game this season for multiple reasons, but have the league's best record at 37-9.

Guess who hasn't missed a game this season?

The 36-year-old who just played 40-plus minutes in consecutive games.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: 5 takeaways from Suns rally past Jazz with Chris Paul taking over in 4th

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