Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/15/12
PHOENIX -- The last two games have shown the Phoenix Suns what is possible. They just wish it hadn't taken a seven-game losing streak to bring out the improved play. With their longest losing skid in eight years in the rear-view mirror, the Suns backed up Wednesday's win over Memphis with an impressive 99-84 win over the Utah Jazz on Friday behind a season-high 22 points from Jared Dudley. Goran Dragic had 17 points and Marcin Gortat added 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Suns, who held opponents under 90 points in consecutive games. PJ Tucker and Michael Beasley combined for 21 of Phoenix's 38 bench points as the Suns recorded back-to-back victories for just the third time this season and, for the first time, beat teams with a winning record consecutively. Phoenix surprised the Grizzlies 82-80 on Dragic's game-winner, but on Friday, they led for all but a few seconds. "The aura in the locker room ... you can just feel the excitement knowing we are playing well and beating good teams," said Tucker, who added 10 points and plenty of second-half energy to the mix. "It makes (the losing streak) more frustrating, but it takes time to get the rotation down and what they need to do when they get in there." Coach Alvin Gentry switched Dudley to the small forward spot and had Beasley switch to a reserve role at big forward four games ago, and Dudley has responded with 15 points per game and 58 percent shooting from the field. He hit 9 of 12 shots Friday, and added five assists and three steals. "I would have liked to have played better early. It kind of happened last year when I lost a (starting) spot and came back," Dudley said. "I'm a glue guy and I have to fit in with guys. We're playing unselfish and moving the ball and I'm shooting when I'm open. It's simple when it's going well." Al Jefferson led a balanced Utah scoring attack with 14 points and Paul Millsap had 12, but the Jazz led only once -- at 13-12 in the first quarter -- and saw its season-best four-game losing streak snapped as its road woes continue. The Jazz are 4-10 away from EnergySolutions Arena, where they are 9-1. "Give them credit, they played like they wanted to win," said Jefferson, who had 27 points and 14 rebounds in Utah's 94-81 win over the Suns on Nov. 10 in Salt Lake City. On Friday, he struggled and was 6-for-16 from the floor. Phoenix held off a Utah rally in the third quarter thanks to 11 points from Dragic and Gortat. The Suns answered again in the fourth quarter when Utah pulled to within 79-72 on Derrick Favors' jumper with 10:23 left. But the Suns held the Jazz without a basket for the next 6:22 during a 14-2 run that put the game away. "We had opportunities to come back. We cut it to four (65-61 in the third quarter) but we could never get over the hump because they had their confidence going," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They ran hard; cut hard -- it was their style of game, not ours." Known for slow start most of this season, the Suns took control of the game late in the first period. Tied 18-18 with 4:42 left, Phoenix closed the quarter on a 16-4 run, eight of them from Beasley off the bench, to take a 34-22 lead. Beasley had two of Phoenix's five 3-pointers in the first half. Dudley had 13 points in the first half and gave the Suns their biggest lead at 56-36 on a fastbreak layup with 3:34 left. The Suns had a 15-3 edge in fastbreak points at intermission. "It's so much easier when you're playing downhill instead of uphill," Gentry said. "I thought it was our best first quarter by far. We did a great job of moving the basketball. We had 22 baskets in the first half and assists on 16 of those. That tells me we're doing the right thing." Notes: After surrendering 106.3 points and 49 percent shooting to opponents during their seven-game losing streak, the Suns held Memphis and Utah to 82 points and 42.6 percent shooting in back-to-back wins ... Heading into Friday, the Jazz have given Suns center Gortat fits in Salt Lake City. In four road games in Utah since joining the Suns, Gortat averaged just 7.3 points on 41 percent shooting. Gortat's two previous home games were much better, averaging 18 points and 68 percent shooting. ... Utah's Jefferson came into the game with 246 career double-doubles, third among active players in the Western Conference behind Dwight Howard (459) and David Lee (252). ... Corbin and assistant Mike Sanders both played for the Suns and were part of the biggest trades in team history on Feb. 25, 1988 -- heading in different directions. Corbin came to Phoenix with Kevin Johnson, Mark West and a draft choice that became Dan Majerle in exchange for Sanders and Larry Nance, who went to the Cavaliers.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Mike Carey not heard from again after being wrong earlier

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

WATCH: Panthers' Jonathan Stewart leaps over pile for TD

Aqib Talib commits three awful penatlies in first half of SB

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker