Boozer and Stoudemire are both gone, and neither team’s offense looks the same after one game.
These teams have been known for their high-scoring offenses, and will try to shake off rough first games as the Jazz play their home opener Thursday night against the Suns.
Utah (0-1) fell 110-88 at Denver on Wednesday after Phoenix (0-1) let a late lead slip away in Tuesday’s 106-92 loss at Portland. Those point totals were a far cry from what these clubs did in 2009-10, when the Suns led the league with 110.2 points per game and the Jazz were fourth at 104.2.
There were mitigating factors involved for both teams, including the fact that each opened on the road against a revenge-minded opponent it eliminated in last season’s playoffs.
More notable is how each team is adjusting without its leading scorer from last season.
Boozer averaged 19.5 points before joining Chicago as a free agent. The Jazz acquired Al Jefferson(notes) from Minnesota to help replace him, but the center had six points and seven rebounds while being double-teamed frequently in his Utah debut Wednesday.
“Made it more difficult for him to get what he wanted,” coach Jerry Sloan said.
The Suns looked fine for three quarters without Stoudemire’s 23.1 points per game Tuesday before they were outscored 31-11 in the fourth. The starting frontcourt of newcomer Hedo Turkoglu(notes), Grant Hill(notes) and Robin Lopez(notes) combined for 15 points.
A key question for both teams is how the departure of the scoring big men would impact the play of point guards Nash and Deron Williams(notes). Nash played with Stoudemire for six seasons and Williams with Boozer for five.
Nash developed into a two-time league MVP in that time, and led the Suns with 26 points Tuesday. However, he had six assists and nine turnovers - his highest total since he had 10 on Feb. 6, 2008, against New Orleans.
“As I said, we’re still trying to figure out this team and learn about this team,” coach Alvin Gentry said. “It’s going to take a little while, but the effort was there.”
Williams made 3 of 10 shots for 17 points and six assists as part of a lethargic effort in which Utah shot 38.6 percent. Sloan cut his minutes in the second half when the Jazz never made a run after trailing by 20 at the break.
“Our cuts to the basket looked like we were dead tired,” Sloan said. “Let’s give credit to Denver, but the season’s not over.”
These teams split four meetings in 2009-10, but both know there is work to do to get back to their level of play from last season.