The Suns do have one more game at home against Portland in a couple of nights but the Jazz have pretty much been the bookends to Phoenix's 7-game home-stand. They're a well-rested bunch having played just one road game in the month of March.
They've had quite a bit of rest since their 152-point shellacking of the Timberwolves Tuesday night. None of their starters cracked 30 minutes that night. So we're not going to be able to rely on the Suns getting tired legs in the fourth quarter tonight. That's huge to consider when they have vets like Nash and Hill that will benefit a lot from that.
Credit the Jazz for their big comebacks against the Suns so far this season. They drubbed the Suns with 41 points in the fourth quarter in their last meeting. In the first game in Utah the Jazz scored 66 points on them in the second half to come from behind in that one. That's what can happen when you play one of the worst defensive teams in the league. But if the Jazz get behind big early tonight, they might not be able to mount much of an offensive comeback late. The Suns are going to be fresh.
The way you defeat the Suns is to limit their possessions. They're going to score, probably a lot. So to limit those possessions, you need to A) rebound and B) not turn the ball over. In the first game, the Jazz had just as many shot attempts (84) as the Suns. They crushed Phoenix on the boards, 48-31 and finished them off at the line. The Jazz also had a relatively good 11 turnovers.
In the game this monthh at Phoenix, the Jazz had 83 FGAs to their 73 (they average 83 a game). They beat them on the glass, 43-38 and also benefited from 18 Suns turnovers.
The Jazz should be able to get what they want on offense. Hopefully they don't want a lot of early jumpers and dig an early grave.
Everyone is a go tonight except for AK. We'll see how the Jazz match up without him on D.
- Game thread @ 7
- Jazz vs Suns coverage
- Bright Side Of The Sun
Thanks to Seth from Bright Side of the Sun for this audio from practice this morning. I expect a bit of karmic retribution from the basketball gods for some of his statements though.