This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Phoenix • Derrick Favors' knee was in a brace and, when he moved, he still felt some pain from an awkward landing last week.

But this is the time of year to ignore the pain, lest you have to endure the agony of an early vacation.

"It's just something I have to fight through right now because we're in the playoff race," Favors said. "My mindset right now is just to go out there and do whatever it takes."

That's exactly what he and the Utah Jazz did on Sunday evening, running away with a 101-86 win over the Phoenix Suns and keeping pace in the hunt for one of the West's coveted final playoff spots. With the Mavericks and Rockets both winning in early games Sunday, the Jazz knew they needed a win to stay in eighth place and Utah took care of business. The Jazz are now 39-38 with just five games — including tough matchups with the Spurs and Clippers this week — left on their schedule.

"Each game is huge for us," said forward Gordon Hayward, who scored a team-high 22 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists.

And any misstep could be devastating. So there was cause for concern when the Jazz limped out to a 6-for-23 start and an early double-digit deficit.

"We didn't come out with the right intensity," said shooting guard Rodney Hood, who missed all six of his shots in the opening quarter.

But all that would soon be forgotten.

With 7:59 on the clock in the second period, Phoenix's John Jenkins knocked down a pair of free throws to make it a 30-26 advantage for the Suns. That's when the Jazz finally arrived for the matinee game. Utah clamped down on defense, holding the Suns without another point for nearly seven minutes. The Suns missed 10 straight shots and turned the ball over four times in that span, as the Jazz went on an 18-0 run.

Forcing 22 turnovers (good for 26 points) and blocking 10 shots, the Utah defense looked like it was ready to keep playing past mid-April. The Jazz have had the seventh best defense in the NBA this season and they've been the third stingiest defense since the All-Star break.

"It's been our calling card all year," Hayward said. "When we play well defensively, we give ourselves a chance."

The Jazz outscored the Suns 30-10 in the second quarter and never looked back. The Jazz held the Suns to 41 percent over the final three quarters, as Suns coach Earl Watson's injured club fell to 20-57 on the season.

"It just took us a little bit to get going and we did it with defense," said Jazz coach Quin Snyder, who credited the energy of reserves Chris Johnson and Trevor Booker for sparking a turnaround. "A 10-point second quarter, that's who we are."

Hood also set aside his first-quarter woes to finish with 18 points, knocking down 6 of his 12 attempts from beyond the arc. The guard also dished out seven assists.

Suns center Tyson Chandler scored 21 points and grabbed 18 rebounds and backup forward Mirza Teletovic scored a game-high 24 points off the bench. But a Phoenix team missing star guards Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight simply couldn't compete as the Jazz completed the four-game sweep of the season series for just the second time.

After missing Friday's game with a sore right knee, Favors was back in the Jazz's starting lineup on Sunday. Although the big man wasn't sure exactly what he'd be able to contribute.

All he did was score 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting in 28 minutes, making sure the Jazz had enough manpower to deal with the Suns' two 7-footers even when Jazz center Rudy Gobert (12 points, five rebounds) had to leave the game with foul trouble.

"We need him out there," Snyder said. "He's one of our key guys. This is the time of year to play through some bumps and bruises." Twitter: @tribjazz —


R The Jazz held the Suns scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the second quarter, as they went on an 18-0 run that turned the game in their favor for good.

• The Jazz turn 22 Suns turnovers into 26 points.

• Gordon Hayward has scored 20 points or more in 40 games this season.

More coverage

• Suns interim coach Earl Watson feels the influence of former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. > B4

West playoff race

Team W L Pct. GB

6. Portland 41 37 .526 —

7. Dallas 39 38 .506 11/2

8. Utah 39 38 .506 11/2

9. Houston 38 39 .494 21/2