Keep the Good Times Rolling: Suns Need to Beat Jazz Tonight at US Airways Center
|Utah's Mehmet Okur|
Hey, Suns fans. Steve Nash and company have you exactly where they want you after its epic 118-115 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night. Only three games behind the Dallas Mavericks, all hopeful and stuff, and ready to Sharpie-in that eighth and final playoff position in the West.
But beware. Need we remind you that this season, Phoenix usually falters following an unexpected win against a solid squad. (Remember this month's six-game losing streak after the Lakers win?) Plus, there were plenty of hiccups against the Nuggets at US Airways Center. Not only did the Suns choke away a 14-point lead, but the defense was typically suspect at best. However, when crunchtime approached, Grant Hill found his shot, Nash stepped in and took a charge against Chauncey Billups, the D forced game-high scorer Carmelo Anthony to brick on a three, and the Suns celebrated a come-from-behind, potentially season-saving victory.
The going continues to get tough when the Utah Jazz -- who've cooled off a bit since a 12-game competition smackdown -- step sneaker into US Airways tonight. The first of two matchups within four days, Utah, at the time of writing, was holding firm to the Western Conference's sixth playoff position. The Jazz, just 2-3 in its past five games and sans a signature victory since the infamous win streak, is expected to be at full-strength with the return of Mehmet Okur. The center and team-leader in scoring has been troubled by an eye injury, but is expected to play tonight.
The last time the two teams hooked up on December 6, the Suns knocked off Utah behind one of Amare Stoudemire's best games of the season. Without the injured power forward in the lineup, Phoenix will need to control the tempo and fast-break the heck out of the slower-paced Jazz to have a chance in this one. And Phoenix really really, needs this one because Dallas, off since Friday, is expected to handle Golden State with relative ease tonight.
The Suns and Jazz square off at 7:30 p.m. tonight in downtown Phoenix. National TV: ESPN. Local TV: FSN AZ. Local Radio: KTAR-620 AM.