Postgame Central: Suns vs. Jazz - March 14, 2012
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Offense Comes Alive as Suns Silence Jazz
By Mike Tulumello, for NBA.com
THE FACTS: To grab one of the last playoff spots, the Phoenix Suns will have to win virtually every home game. They accomplished this Wednesday night, by outlasting the Utah Jazz, 120-111, in a game of wild swings.
The Suns, winners of eight of their past 11 games, moved to 20-22, pulling into a tie for 10th place in the West with the Jazz. The two teams are three games behind No. 8 Houston (24-20).
The Suns got a season-high 26 points from Channing Frye, plus 25 from Marcin Gortat, 21 from Jared Dudley and 12 points and 16 assists from Steve Nash.
Paul Millsap led the Jazz with 18 points and 10 boards. Al Jefferson added 18 points and seven boards.
The Jazz got fine play off the bench as their reserves outscored their Suns' counterparts, 55-24. Jamaal Tinsley had a season-high 11 points.
The Jazz led by as many as 13 points early before the Suns tied it, 53-53, at halftime.
The Suns ran up an 89-79 lead in the closing seconds of the third quarter, then Tinsley nailed a 40-footer at the buzzer. This propelled the Jazz on a 12-2 run that made it 91-91 with 9:28 left.
A 3-pointer by Frye and a driving 3-point play by Shannon Brown helped the Suns pull away.
QUOTABLE: "We're firing on all cylinders offensively. We're being unselfish and looking for guys who are hot." -- Dudley.
THE STAT: The Suns shot 56 percent, including 47 percent on 3-pointers.
TURNING POINT: The Suns, behind the sizzling shooting of Frye and Dudley outscored the Jazz 20-7 at the close of the half. That turned a 46-33 deficit into a 53-53 deadlock. It also helped the Suns overcome a 20-3 run by the Jazz that ended early in the second quarter, a spurt that have the Jazz a 35-22 lead.
QUOTABLE II: "A good win. But we have to get back to what we were doing defensively...way too many points (given up) in the paint (64). The last two games have been a little alarming." -- Suns coach Alvin Gentry.
HOT: Gortat shot 10-for-12.
NOT: The Jazz' Josh Howard shot just 3-for-12.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Dudley is enjoying the best stretch of his career. He's scored 17-plus in five straight games, the first time he's done so. In these five games, he's averaged 20.6 points on 54 percent shooting.
GOOD MOVE: The Suns decided to go all-in with winning instead of also trying to develop Markieff Morris, their rookie forward who appeared to run out of gas weeks ago. Hakim Warrick served as the only backup to starting "four" man Frye. Morris shot just 2-for-19 his last five games.
BAD MOVE: Both teams lost their cool, running up four technicals (even though the ref crew was obviously not going to listen to complaints). For the Jazz, guard Devin Harris and coach Ty Corbin were teed-up, along with Suns guard Brown and Gentry.
ROOKIE WATCH: The Jazz' Enes Kanter shot 4-for-5 for eight points plus five boards in 11 minutes.
NOTABLE: The Suns have won their last six home games in which they've had a double-digit deficit. This has all been done in the past two weeks.
UP NEXT:For the Jazz, Thursday vs. Timberwolves, Saturday vs. Warriors and Sunday @ Los Angeles Lakers. For the Suns, Thursday at Los Angeles Clippers, Friday vs. Pistons and Sunday vs. Rockets.
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