Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz
Energy Solutions Arena – Salt Lake City, Utah
Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 10:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Utah -3 1/2
Current Line: Utah -5
Opening Total: 204
Current Total: 204
Opening Money Line: Jazz -190 / Suns +165
Current Money Line: Jazz -210 / Suns +180
The 34-30 Utah Jazz, coached by Tyrone Corbin, lead the 33-31 Phoenix Suns by one game for the last playoff spot in the West. The two teams meet tonight in Salt Lake City. With only two games left to play for each team, the Jazz will clinch a playoff spot with a win and a date with the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Phoenix, coached by Alvin Gentry, can force a tie with one game remaining for each team with a win. Phoenix hosts San Antonio Wednesday night, in a game the Spurs will most likely rest their starters as they have everything wrapped up. Utah hosts Portland on Thursday night.
Utah has won 3 games in a row including a 117-107 overtime victory over the Orlando Magic Saturday night. The winning streak has vaulted the Jazz into the last playoff spot. The Suns have gone 4-4 in their last 8 alternating wins and losses. The Suns suffered a very disappointing loss at home Saturday against Denver. The Nuggets took a 2 point lead at halftime, but opened the third quarter on a 33-14 run to break open the game. Phoenix pulled to within 10 points in the fourth but could get no closer in the 118-107 loss.
Phoenix will still clinch a playoff spot if they win their last two games as they hold the tiebreaker over Utah. The Suns have won both meetings against the Jazz this season. The Suns won 120-111 in Phoenix March 14, and April 4 in Salt Lake City 107-105. Phoenix has won 3 straight games in Utah.
The Suns are scoring 98.4 points a game and giving up 98.4 points as well. Phoenix is #7 in scoring. The Suns are shooting 45.9% from the field and 34.5% from 3 point range. Phoenix is #6 in field goal percentage. The Suns make 75.8% from the free throw line. Phoenix averages 41.7 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of -1.5. The Suns average 22.6 assists, 14 turnovers, 6.6 steals, and 5.6 blocks a game. Phoenix opponents are shooting 45.5% from the field and 35.2% from 3 point range. The Suns force 14.1 turnovers a game.
Phoenix Center Marcin Gortat averages 15.7 points, 10 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks a game. He leads the Suns in all 3 categories. Forward Jared Dudley averages 12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. Point guard Steve Nash averages 12.5 points, 3 rebounds, and 10.8 assists a game to lead the team. Remarkably, the 38 year old Nash is second in the league in assists, behind only Rajon Rando of the Celtics. Guard Shannon Brown averages 10.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists a game. Center Channing Frye averages 10.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.1 blocks a game. He is doubtful with a shoulder injury. Forward Grant Hill averages 10.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists a game. He has missed the last 4 games with knee soreness but is listed as questionable against Utah. Ronnie Price leads the Suns in steals with 1 a game.
Utah is outscoring opponents 99.7-99.3 this season. The Jazz are #4 in scoring in the league. Utah is shooting 45.7% from the field and 32.3% from 3 point range. The Jazz are #7 in field goal percentage. Utah makes 75.4% of their free throws. The Jazz are 5th in rebounding in the league averaging 43.9 a game with a rebounding margin of +2.7. Utah averages 21.9 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 8.2 steals, and 5.8 blocks a game. Jazz opponents are shooting 45.3% from the field and 34.4% from 3 point range. The Jazz are #10 in three point defense. Utah forces 14.7 turnovers a game.
Utah center Al Jefferson averages 19.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.7 blocks a game. He leads the Jazz in scoring, rebounds, and blocks. Forward Paul Milsap averages 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.8 steals a game to lead the team. Guard Gordon Hayward averages 12 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists a game. Point guard Devin Harris averages 11.4 points, 1.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists to lead the team, and 1 steal a game. Josh Howard, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, and Raja Bell also contribute to the scoring. Howard (knee) and Bell (groin) are both probable tonight. Guards C.J. Miles and Earl Watson are both out for the season.
Utah is 33-30-1 ATS this season and the total is 32-30-2. Phoenix is 34-30 ATS and the total is 25-39 this season. The Suns are 6-1 ATS in the last 7 against Utah, including 4-0 in Utah. The under is 5-2 in the last seven in the series. The Suns are 6-0 ATS after a straight up loss of 10 points or more, 5-0 after a straight up loss, 10-1 after failing to cover, 15-4 after allowing 100 points or more, 5-2 after a double digit home loss, 5-11 in Tuesday games, 1-4 as a road underdog of 5-10.5 points, and after scoring 100 points or more, and 0-4 on two days rest. The Jazz are 5-1 ATS on 2 days rest, 4-1-1 against teams with winning records, 3-1-1 after a straight up win, and after scoring 100 points, 5-2 in Tuesday games, 5-2-1 overall, 18-37 after a cover, 9-21 as a favorite of 5-10.5 points, 1-4 as a home favorite of 5-10.5 points, 0-4 against Pacific division teams, and 0-5 at home against teams with losing road records.
These two teams are evenly matched statistically. Both score a lot and struggle to stop teams on defense. This should be a high scoring game. Phoenix has done well in Salt Lake City recently, but I think the Jazz end that trend and clinch a playoff spot.