UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Look For First Home Win In Meeting With Suns

Dec 30, 2020, 7:05 PM | Updated: 7:07 pm
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz will look to earn their first home win of the season when they face the Phoenix Suns at Vivint Arena on Thursday night. The New Year’s Eve matchup will be a tough test for the Jazz coming off a road victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

The Jazz enter the game 2-1 with their lone loss coming against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Phoenix is tied atop the Western Conference with a 3-1 record and coming off a 111-86 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday.

The Suns are led in scoring by fifth-year guard Devin Booker who averages 19 points per game. Newly acquired Chris Paul is averaging 11.8 points and 9.5 rebounds in four games with the Suns.

Meanwhile, the Jazz are led in scoring by All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell at 20.3 points per game, despite shooting just 32 percent from the floor.

Though he’s struggled from the field, Mitchell has had dominant stretches in each of the Jazz first three games that have helped the team to a winning record.

Recent History Between Jazz and Suns

The Jazz and Suns are familiar foes having faced one another twice during the preseason. Phoenix lost both meetings by double-digits but was without Paul for the preseason opener and former Jazzman Jae Crowder for both.

Crowder is averaging 11 points and 5.5 rebounds in the regular season for the Suns.

The two teams played only twice last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic that shortened the second half of the season significantly. The Jazz won the first of the two matchups in Phoenix 96-95, while the Suns obliterated the Jazz 131-111 in one of their most lopsided losses of the season.

The Jazz and Suns also met in an exhibition game in the Disney World bubble before the NBA’s restart in Orlando.

Key Matchup

The Jazz and Suns key matchup features veteran point guards Paul and Mike Conley. Paul is averaging a near double despite scoring in double-digits just once in the Suns’ first four games. His scoring average is buoyed by a 22 point outing in Phoenix’s 106-103 loss to the Sacramento Kings in the second game of the season.

In the meantime, Conley has been perhaps the Jazz most consistent offensive player through three games. The 14th-year guard is averaging 19.3 points per game and has scored 18 points or more in each of the team’s outings.

Conley’s start is a stark contrast from his early-season last year with the Jazz when he averaged 13.9 points while shooting just 37 percent from the floor before a hamstring injury sidelined him for more than a month.

“He was missing a couple of shots as he was getting used to the way we were playing,” Jazz guard Joe Ingles said of Conley’s previous struggles. “But I mean he was still really good for us on the court.”

The veteran nearly broke the Jazz 12-year streak without a triple-double when he came up one assist short in the Jazz win over the Thunder. Conley finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists.

The Jazz and Suns tip-off at 7 pm MT. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet and NBATV.

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