Suns look to continue mastery of Jazz

The Suns’ Luis Scola doesn’t know how long it will last, but he’s hoping

to stay in the groove. The forward will try to add to his resurgence

Friday night while leading the Suns to a fifth consecutive home win in

their series with the short-handed Jazz.

Scola was

averaging 11.7 points — his fewest since his 2007-08 rookie season —

through the first 30 games, but he’s awakened from that slump in the

past week. He is averaging 26.0 points on 57.9 percent shooting over the

last three games, and he had a team-best 21 when Phoenix (12-21)

snapped a six-game skid Wednesday with a 95-89 home win over

Philadelphia.

“I feel like I’m in a better rhythm.

I’m playing with more confidence and I know my teammates better. It took

me a little time but I’m happy with the way things are going now. I

just need to keep it going,” Scola said. “There’s one thing you learn in

the NBA: things change so quickly that you can never get relaxed. You

need to find a way to keep doing what you’re

doing.”

Scola will try to keep things going while

helping the Suns earn back-to-back victories for the first time since a

season-high four-game win streak from Dec. 12-19. Phoenix will try to

accomplish that feat while sending Utah (16-17) to its eighth loss in 11

games and fourth in its last five on the road.

The

Jazz are coming off a lopsided 106-84 win over Minnesota on Wednesday,

but they had the comfort of playing on their own floor where they’re

10-4. Utah, 6-13 on the road, will play five of its next six games away

from Salt Lake City and won’t have Mo Williams to

help.

The starting point guard, averaging 12.9 points

and 6.7 assists, will be out for at least another six weeks after

surgery for an injured right thumb.

“We can’t feel

sorry for ourselves,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “This is who we have and

we have to figure out how we can be as good as we can with this group

right now.”

The Jazz would love to start showing

their potential by earning their first win in Phoenix since March 4,

2010. They lost 99-84 there Dec. 14 as the Suns’ Jared Dudley scored 22

points to pace five players in double figures.

Scola

wasn’t one of those players. He finished with just four points on 2-of-8

shooting.

With 14 points and 11 rebounds, Al

Jefferson was the top scorer for Utah, which shot 40.2 percent and was 3

of 11 from 3-point range.

The Jazz beat the Suns

94-81 at home Nov. 10 as Jefferson had 27 points and 14 rebounds. Scola

had a team-best 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns, but they shot

just 36.8 percent and were 4 of 16 from beyond the

arc.

Dudley, who has combined for 15 points on

5-of-15 shooting in the last two games, is averaging 16.8 points on 56.9

percent shooting in his past five meetings with Utah.