PHOENIX (ABC4 Sports) – On a night in which the Jazz committed 23 turnovers and shot just 38 percent from the floor, free throws and defense proved to be the difference.
Donovan Mitchell hit the go-ahead free throw with .4 seconds left, as the Jazz improved to 3-1 on the season with a 96-95 victory.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Jazz in scoring with 29 points, making 8 of 13 shots, while Mitchell finished with 26.
Rudy Gobert had 15 points and 18 rebounds, while making 11 of 12 free throws.
The Jazz made 32 of 39 shots from the foul line as a team.
“We didn’t put our heads down after those mistakes. Got back and really worked to get stops,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “When you do that, you have a chance. We had some really big plays down the stretch.”
Mitchell took the ball in the back court in the final seconds and then drove through the lane, getting fouled by Devin Booker as he tried to make a layup. Mitchell made the first free throw before missing the second, and Frank Kaminsky III’s last-second heave was well short.
“It’s me just attacking, coming downhill,” Mitchell said. “(Jevon) Carter was a great defender all game, but I just made a move and tried to get to the free throw line. I didn’t do that much in the second half, but I did on the final play.”
The teams were tied at 70 heading into the fourth quarter before the Suns pushed ahead with five straight points. The game was tied again when Bogdanovic scored on a fast-break layup and was fouled with 1:45 left. He made the free throw to push the Jazz ahead 95-92.
Phoenix (2-2) was led by Booker’s 21 points. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 18 and Jevon Carter had 15, including a 3-pointer that tied it at 95 with less than minute left.
Aron Baynes scored 12 points for the Suns, including a career-high three 3-pointers. He made just 25 shots beyond the arc in his first seven seasons combined, including 21 last year.
Ricky Rubio faced Utah (3-1) for the first time since signing a free-agent deal with the Suns in the offseason. He finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
“I like how in the tough moments we get together and play with passion,” Rubio said. “The only difference not making the playoffs or making it is winning these kinds of games. I know we are young, we are learning, but we have to close out.”
Mike Conley battled foul trouble all game long, and finished with one point and one assist in 20 minutes of action.
Both teams struggled to make shots in the first half as the Jazz built a 46-39 lead. Bogdanovic led Utah with 14 points.
The Jazz next host the L.A. Clippers on Wednesday.