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Jazz take on powerhouse Suns at home

Beating the Suns before the playoffs would be big for the Jazz’s confidence going into the playoffs

Utah Jazz v Phoenix Suns Photo by Kate Frese/NBAE via Getty Images

After a nice win against the Memphis Grizzlies and now on a 2-game winning streak, the Utah Jazz will take on the first place Phoenix Suns hoping to build some momentum as they enter the playoffs.

A week ago the Jazz looked like a team that was in a complete meltdown, but the win against the Grizzlies did a lot to show what this team could be if they had everything come together. Some of that was the team talking through some of their issues, but some of that has been adding wing defenders to the team that have helped improve a pretty lifeless perimeter defense. Danuel House and Juancho Hernangomez have been a big part of that.

House and Hernangomez fly from side to side on the defensive end getting deflections and then run in transition creating easy buckets. They’ve changed the team in a tangible way and are making it harder and harder to keep them off the floor. House has been a regular bench rotation player and has had a few starts. Hernangomez has also earned bench minutes and even displaced Rudy Gay one game this week. The Jazz’s biggest need this season was for more athleticism and defense on the perimeter and they found that in Hernangomez and House. What’s remarkable about the duo is that House came out of nowhere as a 10-day contract and Hernangomez joins the team in the trade that sent Joe Ingles to the Trailblazers. Probably the biggest surprise this season was that Nickeil Alexander-Walker didn’t end up being the best part of that trade, but Hernangomez.

It really is a new-look Jazz at this point with more athleticism and more defense surrounding the Jazz’s big three of Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley. Maybe that new look is the thing that puts them over the top. The other thing that will help is the Jazz look pretty healthy going into this game, and the playoffs. If they can start game 1 in the playoffs healthy, it will mean they met one of their main goals this season and puts them in a better place than last year.

The other interesting thing this game will be the Utah Jazz honoring Carlos Boozer. Boozer was a big part of Jazz history and the Deron Williams teams. It’s an era that probably deserves more love and it’s nice to see Boozer be honored.

The Odds

The Suns are favored in this one and rightfully so as the #1 team in the NBA. For Utah to win this one, they’ll need to be on their a-game in every aspect with obviously their on-court play as well as with the rotations from Quin Snyder and adjustments to what the Suns do. The toughest thing with this Suns team is how clutch they’ve been. If this one is close at the end, it gets hard to believe the Jazz, or anyone, can pull out a win against them. They’re truly a tough team.

Game Info

When: 7:30 PM MT

Where: Vivent Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

TV: NBA TV, AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain

Radio: 95.9/1280 The Zone, Utah Jazz App

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