Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/11/12
SALT LAKE CITY -- Al Jefferson had 27 points and 14 rebounds as the Utah Jazz held off the Phoenix Suns, 94-81, on Saturday night. The Jazz (3-4) remained unbeaten at home, while the Suns (3-4) had a modest two-game win streak snapped. Jefferson broke out of a mini-slump to start the season as his scoring average had dipped nearly eight points entering Saturday's game. He started off hot, making five of his first seven shots and his points total was a season-high. Utah appeared to be coasting to an easy victory at home after it went ahead 73-53 with 3:44 left in the third quarter. The Suns, who rallied from a 26-point deficit to defeat Cleveland on Friday, kept it interesting. A dunk by Michael Beasley cut Utah's lead to 79-74 with 5:24 left in the game. Jamaal Tinsley, however, gave the Jazz some momentum back by stealing a sloppy pass by Jared Dudley. That sparked a 7-0 run by Utah with Paul Millsap and Jefferson sinking jumpers, and Marvin Williams adding a 3-pointer to make it 86-74. Millsap had a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds and Gordon Hayward chipped in 18 points for Utah. Luis Scola led Phoenix with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Jared Dudley added 16 points. Utah never trailed and led by as many as 16 points in the first half. They went into the break with a 50-43 lead. Utah quickly put some space between it and Phoenix in the first quarter. A 9-2 run that was capped by a layup and a dunk by Enes Kanter put Utah ahead 27-13. But Phoenix, thanks to solid play from Dudley, got back in the game. Dudley, who averaged 7.0 points per game entering Saturday's contest, led the Suns with 12 of his points in the first half. A layup by Dudley in transition got Phoenix within 48-43 with 57.2 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Tinsley, filling in for an injured Mo Williams, efficiently ran Utah's offense and dished 10 assists in the first half. Jefferson had 13 first-half points and the Jazz held a 28-15 rebounding edge over Phoenix at halftime. NOTES: Williams, the Jazz's leading scorer entering Saturday's game, strained his right adductor against the Denver Nuggets on Friday and did not play. He is averaging 16.8 points and 6.3 assists per game. ... Phoenix center Jermaine O'Neal missed his third consecutive game. He rejoined the Suns on Friday after taking time off to deal with a family matter, but did not make the trip to Utah. ... The Suns had won seven of their previous games against Utah.
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