While the Utah Jazz are out to prove they are among the better
teams in the league, the Phoenix Suns simply are trying to find
Earning a last-second victory over a Western Conference power
the last time out was a good place to start for each squad.
Utah looks to earn a third straight victory in the series while
avoiding a fourth consecutive loss in Phoenix on Friday night.
The Jazz (13-10) are riding a season-best four-game winning
streak after Mo Williams hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to
give them a 99-96 home win over San Antonio on Wednesday.
”We’re on a mission,” said Williams, who missed his first
three 3-point attempts. ”We want to be good. We don’t know our
Paul Millsap finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, Al
Jefferson added 21 points and Gordon Hayward had 19 off the bench
for Utah, which also beat Orlando, blew out Toronto by 32 and
earned a seven-point road win over the Los Angeles Lakers during
”We wanted to show everybody what we’re capable of doing, and
if we continue to play like that we’re going to shock the world,”
Millsap said. “The sky’s the limit for us.
”We’re headed in the right direction. We’re starting to figure
out how to win.”
Phoenix (8-15) hopes it’s on track to do the same after ending a
seven-game losing streak with a dramatic 82-80 win over Memphis on
Goran Dragic scored the last of his 12 points on a short hook
shot with 0.5 seconds remaining to give the Suns their first
victory since Nov. 27.
“It was a much needed win, obviously, for us and once again it
was against a real quality team,” said coach Alvin Gentry, whose
team shot only 36.8 percent for its second-worst mark of the
season. “I thought our defense was really, really good. We
struggled offensively, but I thought our defense was really good.
We did a good job.”
Jared Dudley and Shannon Brown led Phoenix with 15 points
”We lost every possible way you can – close games, blowouts,
bad teams, good teams, different ways, different lineups – and
sometimes you forget how to win,” Dudley said. ”Now we can start
trying to get this thing rolling.”
The Suns will look to do so by winning a fourth straight home
meeting with the Jazz, who rank near the bottom of the West
allowing an average of 103.3 points per game on the road, where
they’ve lost nine of 13.
Utah, though, has won the previous two meetings, both in Salt
Lake City. Jefferson is averaging 20.5 points and 11.2 rebounds in
21 career games versus Phoenix, marking the most points and
second-most rebounds he averages against any team.
He had 27 points and 14 rebounds while Millsap added 18 and 13
to help beat the Suns 94-81 in the most recent matchup Nov. 10
without Williams, who sat out with a strained right adductor.
Luis Scola had 21 points and 11 boards and Dragic contributed 13
points and six assists for the Suns in that contest.