Jazz head to the desert to face Phoenix
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Suns weren't expected to do much this season, but opened the 2013-14 campaign on a winning note.
The Suns look to make it two straight wins when they host the Utah Jazz Friday night from US Airways Center.
Phoenix opened the Jeff Hornacek era with a 104-91 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday thanks to a strong second half and 26 points, nine assists and six rebounds from Goran Dragic. Newcomer Eric Bledsoe had 22 points and both P.J. Tucker and Miles Plumlee posted 18 points. Plumlee also grabbed 15 rebounds and had three blocks in his first career start.
"Miles, he is just an athletic guy. You do not have to run a lot of things for him," Hornacek said of Plumlee. "He just did a nice job of really being active out there and putting pressure on their defense."
Plumlee became the first Sun since Shawn Marion in 1999 to have a double- double while making first career start in a season opener.
The Suns, who haven't started 2-0 since winning four straight to open the 2009-10 season, didn't get much from their bench and shot 51.8 percent.
Phoenix was without forward Markieff Morris as he served a one-game suspension for elbowing Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka in a preseason game. He is expected to see action Friday versus the Jazz.
Utah kicked off its 2013-14 campaign against the Oklahoma City Thunder and dropped a 101-98 decision. Thunder star Kevin Durant lit up the Jazz for 42 points, while Utah was led by Alec Burks' 24 points off the bench.
Derrick Favors posted 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Jazz, who got 14 points and 10 boards out of Enes Kanter. Gordon Hayward ended with 12 points and his potential game-winning 3-pointer was off the mark.
The Jazz played tough over the last 24 minutes and outscored the Thunder 50-44 in the second half.
"I thought our defense in the second half was really, really good," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. "Our execution on offense will have to get better. ... But they're learning."
Utah won three of four meetings with Phoenix last season, but has dropped 10 of its last 15 games in the desert.
Hornacek was an assistant coach for the Jazz before landing the head job in Phoenix this past offseason. Hornacek's No. 14 was retired by the Jazz and he retired in 2000 as the top 3-point shooter in team history (42.8 percent).
11/01 10:47:54 ET