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 streak.
"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 tonight."
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 (3,897 games).
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 Corbin.
The Jazz will play five of their next six on the road, where they are 6-13 this season.
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