Utah 108, Phoenix 86

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 10 (AP) -- The Utah Jazz had an almost unfair advantage before their game against the Phoenix Suns even began.

The Suns were without three starters and had gone into overtime the night before. It took a little while, but the Jazz took advantage and routed the weary, short-handed Suns 108-86 Thursday night.

Utah ran with Phoenix early and by the third quarter the fatigue and the glaring holes in the Suns' starting lineup finally showed.

"Any time someone comes in on a back-to-back and you don't, you're fresh. You should want to run them early,'' said Utah's Deron Williams, who had 17 points and 11 assists.

Phoenix was without two-time league MVP Steve Nash, who stayed home with the flu. Grant Hill was recovering from an appendectomy the day before and Shawn Marion sat behind the bench with a bruised elbow.

Still, the Suns opened with their usual fast pace and stayed within single digits until midway through the third quarter.

Mehmet Okur scored 22 points and pulled down 17 rebounds and Ronnie Brewer tied his career high with 21 points.

Utah outscored Phoenix 28-12 in the third quarter, holding the Suns to just five field goals and closing the period with seven straight points.

"We had a little lapse there where they were able to catch up to us, but we broke out in the third quarter because of our defense,'' Williams said. "We got some stops and were able to get out and run and get some easy baskets.''

Carlos Boozer added 18 points and Kyle Korver scored 11 for the Jazz, who also were short-handed, but not nearly to the extent the Suns were.

"I wish every team was healthy and I wish every team had all their players every night. That's a better indication of who your are,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.

Forward Matt Harpring was not with the team because his wife was in labor, and forward Andrei Kirilenko missed his third straight game because of inflammation in his lower back.

The Suns were still recovering from Wednesday night, when they rallied from 16 points down to beat Indiana 129-122 in overtime.

Amare Stoudemire had 21 points and 14 rebounds and Leandro Barbosa scored 25, but were the only Suns to score in double figures.

"I thought for the first half, we gave it a shot. We came out in the second half and our legs were wobbly,'' Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We just didn't have enough fire power. We had some guys that tried to get it done, but didn't quite get it done.''

Stoudemire hit a free throw that got Phoenix within 63-54, then the Jazz blew it open with a 13-2 run. Williams started it with a long alley-oop to Brewer for a dunk as Utah scored six straight points.

Stoudemire got in a dunk for Phoenix, but the Jazz responded with seven points in a row, taking a 76-56 lead on Okur's 23-foot jumper with about 3 minutes left.

Williams was leading a fast break about 30 seconds later and instead of going for the points tossed it over to Brewer for another dunk that delighted the fans.

"They put up a lot of points. They're a hard team to stop, but once we started getting stops, it led to easy buckets,'' Brewer said.

Utah led 86-60 at the end of the third and reserves for both teams -- including all four of Phoenix's -- played most of the fourth.

Notes: Nash hadn't missed a game this season. ... Brian Skinner had the Suns' only bench points through three quarters with two. ... The Jazz opened the second quarter 1-for-15. ... Harpring's wife had a baby girl, the couple's second child. ... C.J. Miles started for Kirilenko and had three blocks.


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