Jazz Host Suns
Considering how well they fared without Steve Nash down the stretch on Wednesday, the Phoenix Suns may not have much to worry about if the two-time league MVP is unable to play Thursday.
While Nash deals with the stomach flu, the Western Conference-leading Suns look to carry some momentum from a hard-fought victory when they visit the Utah Jazz.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Utah -4 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 224.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 56% of bets for this game have been placed on Utah –4 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Phoenix (25-10) rallied from 16 points down to beat Indiana 129-122 in overtime on Wednesday. It was the Suns' sixth win in seven games, and came despite Nash sitting out the final 22 minutes, 18 seconds.
Down 14 when Nash left, Phoenix used a 17-4 outburst in a four-minute span to go up 97-96 with just over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Suns already were without Grant Hill, who underwent an appendectomy earlier in the day and is expected to be out two to three weeks.
They rallied behind Raja Bell, who scored a season-high 27, including six 3-pointers in 11 tries. Bell sank two 3s in the final 2 1/2 minutes of overtime, and Amare Stoudemire clinched the victory by making five of six free throws in the final 1:18.
"Every quarter was better and the energy was good. It was a good win for us to come back without Steve. Steve was hurting the whole game and we are lucky to escape," said Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni, who added that Leandro Barbosa and Shawn Marion also were feeling ill, yet they combined for 50 points.
After Wednesday's win, Nash didn't travel with the team to Utah, but may rejoin the team before this game. The Suns, who own a 1 1/2-game lead over the Los Angeles Lakers in the Pacific Division, and a one-game lead over San Antonio in the West, went 2-4 in games Nash missed last season.
Nash, who finished with nine points and four assists in a season-low 24 minutes on Wednesday, had 29 points on a season-best 10-of-12 shooting with 11 assists in the Suns' 103-98 victory over the Jazz on Dec. 12.
Stoudemire, who is averaging a team-high 22.1 points, had 18 and nine rebounds against Utah earlier this season. He had 25 points and 11 boards on Wednesday.
The Jazz (19-17) are coming off a 111-89 win over Indiana on Tuesday. Utah jumped out to a 40-19 first-quarter lead, and led by as much as 32 en route to their third win in four games after dropping 11 of 14.
"Our energy was definitely higher than it has been in a long time. We had 29 deflections by halftime, so guys were hustling,'' said Jazz guard Deron Williams, who had 10 points and nine assists in just 25 minutes. He finished with 18 points and six assists in the loss to the Suns last month.
Carlos Boozer scored 22 on 9-of-14 shooting against the Pacers, after a season-low six points on 3-of-16 shooting in Saturday's 103-89 loss to Portland. Boozer had 24 points and 13 rebounds in the loss to the Suns earlier this season, and is averaging 21.6 points and 12.2 rebounds in his last five games against them.
Utah has won three straight at Energy Solutions Arena to improve to 13-3 there this season.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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