NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, January 4th
(All times Eastern)
Utah Jazz (16-17) at Phoenix Suns (12-21), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Both the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns snapped losing streaks
last time out. One will earn their first winning streak since mid-December on
Friday night as the two clubs clash in Phoenix.
The Suns halted a six-game slide on Wednesday with a 95-89 victory over the
Philadelphia 76ers, while the Jazz brought a three-game skid to a halt with a
106-84 triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Phoenix did get a bit of a scare in its win, outscoring the Sixers 31-24 in
the first quarter to get off to a fast start before allowing Philadelphia to
close within two points with 2:16 to play.
However, Phoenix netted the next four points and forced some turnovers to win
for the first time since Dec. 19, the final victory of a four-game winning
"We let them go all the way down to two but we still closed the game," said
the Suns' Luis Scola. "From that moment on we made a four- to five-point run
to close the game and we won it and that's a little different. We usually
struggle when they get that close and we found a way to close the game
Scola tallied his third straight 20-point effort with 21 points, netting 19 of
those in the second half. Goran Dragic added 20 points and six assists, while
Marcin Gortat had a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
"If you look at tonight I think you just have to say it was a total team
effort," Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry remarked.
Backup point guard Sebastian Telfair did not play in the second half due to a
sore left knee and is questionable for this game.
Phoenix's victory on Wednesday was the 1,999th for the franchise and came in
the club's 3,593rd game. The Suns are on the verge of becoming the fourth-
fastest team to reach the 2,000-win plateau, behind only the Boston Celtics,
Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers, and ahead of the Atlanta Hawks
The Jazz, meanwhile, are coming off just their third victory in 10 games. They
had won four straight from Dec. 5-12 prior to that stretch.
Six players scored in double figures versus the Timberwolves, led by Gordon
Hayward's 17 points.
"We got off this losing streak and got ourselves the win we needed to get to
get back on track," Hayward said. "This was a good start."
The victory came on the same day that Utah learned that starting point guard
Mo Williams will need surgery on his injured right thumb that expects to
sideline him for another six weeks. In 24 games this season, Williams has
averaged 12.9 points and 6.7 assists per contest.
Enes Kanter added 15 points on Wednesday, but sprained his right ankle late in
the victory and is doubtful for this game.
Utah outscored Minnesota 30-21 in the second to go in front and closed out the
contest with a 27-18 scoring advantage in the fourth. The Jazz also held the
'Wolves to just 34.5-percent shooting in the game.
"I thought for the most part we played aggressively on both ends. We were on
the right tempo and spots for most of the game," noted Jazz head coach Tyrone
The Jazz will play five of their next six on the road, where they are 6-13
That includes a 99-84 loss in Phoenix on Jan. 14, just over a month after the
Jazz opened this season series with a home victory over the Suns.
Phoenix was led by Jared Dudley's season-high 22 points and the club has
scored at least 99 points in 14 straight home games versus the Jazz.
The Suns have won four straight and six of their last seven as the host versus
the Jazz and eight of the previous 10 encounters overall.
01/04 10:44:48 ET