By Ben York, Suns.com The Suns had an impressive showing in their season opening 104-91 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers. Tonight they face a young, strong Utah Jazz team at US Airways Center at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on FOX Sports Arizona and fans can listen to the radio broadcast on Arizona Sports 620. Click through to see five things fans should watch for during #SunsVsJazz.
Response After a Win After such a strong showing in their home opener, it’s crucial that the Suns continue with their increased energy, cohesion and focus on both ends of the floor. Though, that shouldn’t be a problem with Jeff Hornacek at the helm. Above anything else, Hornacek wants his team to always play hard. If that happens, positive results should follow.
Will the Hot Shooting Continue? The Suns shot 52 percent from the floor against the Blazers which included Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe combining to go 19-for-33 (58 percent) from the field. Additionally, Miles Plumlee and P.J. Tucker combined to go 15-for-27 (56 percent). Against a tough defensive team like the Jazz, who will step up for the Suns?
Bench Play The Suns bench scored just 13 points against Portland. Still, to be fair, the starters played the majority of the game and Markieff Morris was unable to play. As the season continues, production from the bench on both ends of the floor will really help this Suns team come together.
Crashing the Boards Behind 15 huge rebounds from one Miles Plumlee, the Suns out-rebounded the Blazers 47-39 including a 36-28 advantage in defensive rebounding. With Hornacek’s emphasis on wanting to control the pace, attacking the glass is mandatory for the Suns each game.
Two Star Guards If Bledsoe and Dragic can team up to produce a similar stat line as they did against Portland, the rest of the league should be on high alert. Suns.com’s Matt Petersen summed it up perfectly. “The two playmakers’ stat lines nearly mirrored each other,” Petersen said. “Bledsoe finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, six assists and a steal. Dragic added 26 points, nine assists, six rebounds and a steal. Perhaps most impressive was the duo’s efficiency on offense. They combined to shoot 19-of-33 from the field (57.8 percent). Dragic took eight (and hit five) more shot attempts, but Bledsoe made up the difference at the free throw line, where he hit 8-of-11 tries.”