NBA Game Summary - Phoenix at Utah
(Wednesday, April 14th)
Final Score: Phoenix 100, Utah 86
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Amare Stoudemire scored 20 points and had seven rebounds, and Phoenix elevated to the third seed in the Western Conference with a 100-86 victory over the Utah Jazz in the regular season finale.
The Suns (54-28) won 14 of their final 16 games and will battle Portland in the first round of the playoffs, starting Sunday night in Phoenix.
"It was a great way to finish the regular season for a team that was picked by many to be on the outside looking into the playoffs or at the bottom of the playoff list," Phoenix guard Steve Nash said. "To finish third in the West is rewarding and it's important that we're playing well heading into the playoffs feeling good."
The Jazz, who had their 10-game home winning streak broken, were denied winning the Northwest Division title. That went to Denver, which gained the fourth seed and a first-round playoff date against Utah, beginning Saturday night at the Pepsi Center.
"We have struggled with them for some reason this year," Utah guard Deron Williams said. "In the past we had success against them. This they had our number. They had a lot of transition baskets against us and we have to do a better job at getting back to the transition defense, stopping their fast break points and making them defend us on the other end."
Williams had 24 points and Mehmet Okur chipped in 21 points and 11 rebounds for Utah (53-29), which won its previous two games. This was the first home loss for the Jazz since February 22 against Atlanta.
The Jazz have injury concerns for their frontcourt going into the playoffs. Carlos Boozer sat out Wednesday with a strained rib muscle. Also, Andrei Kirilenko missed 15 of the last 17 games this season due to a strained left calf.
Ahead 30-25 after the first quarter, the Suns opened distance between themselves and the Jazz in the second. Phoenix shot 12-of-19 from the field in the quarter, led by Channing Frye's 10 points. Utah went just 6-of-22 in the period.
Paul Millsap's reverse layup had Utah within 30-27, but the Suns responded with a dominating 15-1 burst, capped by Goran Dragic's three-pointer and layup at the midway point of the quarter. Grant Hill's three-ball widened the lead to 59-42 at the half.
Phoenix's lead reached as high as 23 in the third quarter and Utah was never within striking distance in the fourth.
Phoenix had lost four straight at Utah...The Suns finished the regular season winning 22 of their final 27 games...The Jazz went 1-3 against Denver this season, while the Suns had a 1-2 mark against the Blazers...The Jazz honored late owner Larry H. Miller by retiring the uniform No. 9 at halftime...Nash had 11 assists for the Suns, who also received 15 points from Frye.
04/15 03:43:14 ET