Notebook: Suns 99, Jazz 84



Posted Dec 15, 2012 12:13 AM

By Mike Tulumello, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Phoenix Suns are hoping their big win over the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday was the start of a big homestand.

They followed through Friday night, piling up 50 points in less than 19 minutes after tipoff, then fought off a couple of comeback tries by the visiting Utah Jazz en route to a 99-84 win.

The Jazz (13-11) had their four-game win streak snapped. The Suns (9-15) got a huge game from Jared Dudley, who is playing as if he is the solution at the starting small forward spot. Dudley put up a season-high 22 points, plus five assists, four rebounds and three steals in 43 minutes.

Marcin Gortat added 12 points and 14 boards while defending Al Jefferson, who usually crushes the Suns. In this game, Jefferson settled for 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Goran Dragic had 17 points, five assists and just one turnover.

In addition to Jefferson, the Jazz got 12 points and seven boards from Paul Millsap.

Dudley began his season as the starting off guard, struggled then assumed a reserve role. Now, he's starting at the "three" spot, where he "probably should have been all along," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.

"When you play at 'two" [off guard], you're usually on quicker guys," Dudley said. "You exert more energy."

A corresponding move has Michael Beasley, who began the season as the starting small forward, playing off the bench more at the "four" spot.

The Jazz pulled within 65-61 and 79-72 but the Suns broke away each time. For the game, they held the Jazz to just 40 percent shooting.

They had a margin for error by ramping up the tempo early and running up a 56-36 lead, before the Jazz closed it to 56-42 at halftime.

QUOTABLE: "Our best first quarter by far...It's so much easier playing downhill than uphill."
-- Alvin Gentry on his team, which had fallen behind by double digits in 19 of the previous 23 games.

THE STAT: The Suns stayed close to the better-rebounding Jazz on the boards; the margin was only 47-73 for Utah.

TURNING POINT: The Suns, down 13-12 midway through the first quarter, attacked the basket in the halfcourt and broke away for fast breaks. Over the next 15 minutes, they outscored the Jazz 44-23 for a 56-36 lead.

QUOTABLE II: "I don't think their defense is that great to be honest with you." We just didn't execute as well as we're supposed to."
-- Paul Millsap

HOT: Dudley shot 9-for-12.

NOT: Jefferson was held to 6-for-16 shooting.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: After a terrible first few weeks, Dudley is back to pestering ways, scoring off loose balls, 3-pointers and drives to the basket. He has scored in double figures in seven of the past eight games, and he has scored 15-plus in three of four games since rejoining the starting lineup.

NOTABLE: The Jazz traditionally lose in Arizona. They are now 22-57 all time.

UP NEXT: For the Jazz, Saturday vs. Memphis, Tuesday @ Brooklyn and Wednesday @ Indiana. For the Suns, Monday vs. Sacramento, Wednesday vs. Charlotte and Saturday at Portland.