After the shortest off-season ever, the NBA is back! The daily preview breaks down a Western Conference duel between in-form teams Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns.
13:00 (AEDT), Fri 1st Jan @ Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City
History: Played 201: Suns 101 V Jazz 100
Last meeting: February 24, 2020: Suns 131 d Jazz 111 at Vivint Smart Home Arena
Final Thoughts: Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns both started the season with two wins from three matches, setting up an intriguing showdown in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz bookended a five-point home loss to the Timberwolves with road victories over the Blazers (120-100) and Thunder (110-109). They trailed at every change but Donovan Mitchell (20 pts) caught fire late to snatch a victory for the Jazz. Mike Conley finished one assist short of a triple-double.
Utah big man Rudy Gobert has been dominating the boards, averaging 14.7 rebounds – as well as 16.7 points.
The Suns are backing up two days after a home clash with the Pelicans. Building on their stunning efforts in last season’s Orlando bubble, the Suns opened up with an upset of the Mavericks (106-102), and a loss (106-103) and a win (116-100) against the Kings on back-to-back days.
Offensive spearhead Devin Booker has started the campaign solidly and his combination with big-name recruit Chris Paul will only grow. Their offence is still showing signs of rust but the Suns’ defensive improvement has been striking.
The Jazz have dominated this rivalry in recent seasons, winning 15 of their last 17 against the Suns. But last season’s series was split, the teams both winning one game on the road. The Suns snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Jazz with a 131-111 thrashing in February – their first win in Salt Lake City since 2013.
Expect this to go down to the wire but the Suns look to have the slight edge.
Tip: Margin – Suns 1-10
OTHER NBA GAMES
|Indiana Pacers V Cleveland Cavaliers||Margin – Pacers 11-20|
|Washington Wizards V Chicago Bulls||Result – Wizards|
|Orlando Magic V Philadelphia 76ers||Margin – 76ers 1-10|
|Houston Rockets V Sacramento Kings||Result – Rockets|
|Toronto Raptors V New York Knicks||Result – Raptors|
|Oklahoma City Thunder V New Orleans Pelicans||Margin – Pelicans 1-10|