Indeed, the Jazz (13-11) have been two teams this season: The dominant home team that slipped past the San Antonio Spurs 99-96 on Wednesday in buzzer-beating fashion. Then they are what they were Friday: lousy to start, resurgent somewhere in the middle and despondent in the end.
Al Jefferson led the Jazz with 14 points, while four other players joined him in double figures. However, the Jazz backcourt (Hayward, Mo Williams, Randy Foye and Earl Watson) combined to make just 6 of 27 field-goal attempts. The Jazz were just 3 of 11 from 3-point range.
The Jazz trailed by as much as 20 in the first half before cutting Phoenix's lead to 65-61 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter. However, the Suns closed the quarter on a 12-2 run to re-establish control.
"They had a confidence going," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "I thought they cut harder, ran harder than we did tonight."
The Jazz thought they had perhaps turned the corner on their road woes by defeating the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday. Before Friday's game, Corbin talked about using a game against the Suns to help maintain the roll they had been on. Yet against a team they already beat once this year, the Jazz led just once, a 13-12 advantage that lasted 21 seconds.
Jared Dudley scored 22 points to lead the Spurs, but his performance was bolstered by 10 first-quarter points from Goran Dragic (who finished with 17) and a strong fourth quarter from veteran Jermaine O'Neal, who scored six of his seven points in crunchtime.
The Suns outscored the Jazz 19-7 in transition and shot 45.8 percent from the floor compared with the Jazz's 40.2 percent.
"It was their style of game, mostly," Corbin said.
Phoenix struggled throughout the first month-plus of the season, including a Nov. 10 loss to the Jazz in Salt Lake City. After losing seven straight, they have won two in a row over Memphis and now the Jazz.
"I think it shows that we're not capable of going in somewhere and kind of lackadaisically playing in the first half and trying to turn it on in the second half," Hayward said.
The Jazz committed 16 turnovers, including three in a row to end the first quarter amid a 12-2 Phoenix run.
"We know what we need to do," said Paul Millsap, who scored 12 points. "Coming off a big win, we can't come into a team like this and just lay down."
The Jazz have little time to fret over the loss, which Corbin said was the silver lining. They turn around and host Memphis (14-5) on Saturday. But the Jazz still took time Friday to consider their latest road flop.
"These are games we need," Millsap said. "These are games we should win. We don't want to look back in a few months and realize that we should have won this game."
It was clear, though, that they didn't need those months to regret what happened here.
R The Jazz fall to 4-10 on the road despite another double-double from Al Jefferson.
• Phoenix leads by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Jazz fail to keep up.
• The Suns outscore the Jazz in transition, in the paint and in every quarter but the third.
Grizzlies at Jazz
P At EnergySolutions Arena
Tipoff • Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV • ROOT. Radio • 1280 AM,97.5 FM
Records • Jazz 13-11; Grizzlies 14-6
Season series • Memphis 1-0
About the Jazz • Utah players Jamaal Tinsley and DeMarre Carroll were formerly teammates with the Grizzlies. ... Mo Williams is just 5 of 14 from the field in his last two games. ... Al Jefferson is tied for third in the NBA with 13 double-doubles. ... The Jazz are 9-1 at EnergySolutions Arena.
About the Grizzlies • The Grizzlies also will play the second game of a back-to-back after playing in Denver on Friday night. ... Zach Randolph averages 17.6 points and 12.8 rebounds per game. ... Rudy Gay leads Memphis with 19.1 points per game.