Suns-Jazz Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 10, 2012
While the Utah Jazz have had a rough go at it on the road, they've gone unbeaten at home. The Jazz are hoping to see that continue Saturday night when they host the Phoenix Suns, who have picked up the pace following a slow start. Utah (2-4) saw its road woes continue Friday in a 104-84 loss at Denver, dropping to 0-4 as the visiting team. The Jazz were outrebounded 53-45 and limited to a season-worst 36.8 percent shooting. "It wasn't our best outing," said Gordon Hayward, who scored a team-high 15 points. "We've got to figure out this road thing. This was a tough one for us. I think we've got to put it behind us." Utah has to be looking forward to getting back home. The Jazz, who beat Dallas 113-94 in their season opener and the Los Angeles Lakers 95-86 on Wednesday, have proven significantly better defensively on their own court than on the road, where they've posted a 46.4 opponent field-goal percentage compared to 35.8 as host - the lowest mark in the league. The Jazz opened 5-0 at home in 2011-12, but will likely need a better effort from Al Jefferson going forward if they hope to have a shot at matching that record. The formidable big man was held to four points on 1-of-9 shooting Friday and is putting up just 11.8 per game - a far cry from his average of 19.2 last season. Utah had dropped seven straight matchups in this series by an average of 9.2 points before recording a 100-88 victory April 24. Paul Millsap had 26 points and 15 boards in that game while Jefferson added 18 and 16 as the Jazz outrebounded the Suns 56-42. Phoenix (3-3) got back to .500 on Friday after escaping with a 107-105 victory over Cleveland. Goran Dragic had a season-high 26 points while Shannon Brown scored 22 off the bench for the Suns, who trailed by as many as 26 points early in the second quarter before storming back. "In the end we got it done, but I don't want the long faces," said coach Alvin Gentry, whose team forced a season-best 21 turnovers. "I want us to believe that if we get ourselves in trouble we can bail ourselves out by coming up with stops and running on stops and not on trading baskets." Phoenix may want to think about getting Brown even more looks. The seven-year veteran, who scored 24 points Wednesday in a 117-110 win at Charlotte, has averaged 21.3 over his last three games while shooting 11 of 18 (61.1 percent) from 3-point range. "I've always been a scorer," said Brown, who had never posted back-to-back 20-point efforts. "I didn't get to this league because of anything else. I do whatever it takes for this team to win." Brown, though, hasn't scored more than 12 points in 14 career matchups against the Jazz. Dragic scored a career-high 32 in a 124-115 loss at Utah on Jan. 25, 2010. While the Suns managed to hold off the Bobcats earlier this week, they've lost their other two road games by a combined 46 points.
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