The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips as the top two teams in the Western Conference – Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns – lock horns.
12:00 (AEST), Thu 8th Apr @ Phoenix Suns Arena
History: Played 202: Suns 102 V Jazz 100
Last meeting: December 31, 2020: Suns 106 d Jazz 95 at Vivint Smart Home Arena
Final Thoughts: The streaking Phoenix Suns’ credentials as the second-best team in the West get a stern test as they host the conference-leading Utah Jazz.
The 35-14 Suns have won their last six in a row. The run has come during a relatively soft part of the schedule, however, and they only just held off the second-last Rockets 133-130 in Houston two days ago.
Half of Devin Booker’s 36 points came in the fourth quarter. Deandre Ayton had an equal-season-high 27 points along with 11 rebounds, while Chris Paul put up 19 points, 11 assists and 4 steals.
Phoenix are 18-8 at home this season (17-9) and have won their last five at Phoenix Suns Arena by an average margin of 15.6 points. The Suns also boast the best cover record in the NBA (32-17).
The 38-12 Jazz had their nine-game winning streak halted in Dallas two days ago, going down 111-103 to the Mavericks. It was the equal-least points the Jazz have scored since a win over the Pistons on January 10.
Mike Conley (28 pts, 7 ast) was nevertheless impressive, while Rudy Gobert pulled down 15 rebounds. Offensive spearhead Donovan Mitchell had a forgettable night, shooting 6-for-23 from the floor and missing all eight three-point attempts.
Near-unbeatable at home, the Jazz are 16-10 on the road. Utah have an excellent 31-19 cover record overall, but they are just 13-13 ATS as the away team.
Suns change tune on Jazz
The Jazz have dominated this rivalry in recent seasons, winning 15 of their last 18 against the Suns. But the Suns have won the last two encounters – including a 106-95 New Year’s Eve upset in Salt Lake City earlier this season.
Booker led the way for Phoenix with 25 points and 7 assists. Rudy Gobert (18 pts, 14 reb) was strong in a beaten Utah line-up.
There’s little between the Western Conference bolters on paper, form or the head-to-head market. But the home-court factor should be decisive and I’m confident in the Suns’ ability to snare a big scalp in their own backyard.
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