Suns 99, Jazz 84: Suns outrun Jazz for second straight win

2012-12-15T00:00:00Z Suns 99, Jazz 84: Suns outrun Jazz for second straight winPaul Coro The Arizona Republic Arizona Daily Star
December 15, 2012 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - After seven consecutive losses, any sort of triumph would have felt good to the Suns.

What the Suns did Wednesday and Friday went far beyond that, beating two of the better teams in the West with steady efforts that had been unseen most of this season.

After Wednesday's upset of the Memphis Grizzlies, the Suns assembled their first winning streak since Nov. 21-23 by thumping the Utah Jazz 99-84 on Friday night at US Airways Center.

Phoenix (9-15) used a good fast break to end Utah's four-game winning streak and beat a team with a winning record for the second straight game after failing to defeat any such team this season.

Utah (13-11) resembled the Jekyll and Hyde team it has been for years, falling to 4-10 on the road after beating San Antonio at home Wednesday night.

The Suns held the Jazz to 40.2 percent shooting, particularly doing strong work on top scorer Al Jefferson (6 of 16 from the field), who was held to 14 points.

In no coincidence, Jared Dudley played his best consecutive games of the season in the wins. He had a season-high 22 points Friday and added another all-around game with five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Goran Dragic added 17 points and Marcin Gortat exercised his Jazz demons - at least in Phoenix - with a 14-point, 12 rebound game.

After trailing early, the Suns took a 20-18 lead on a reverse layup by Dudley with 4:26 left in the first quarter and never trailed after that.

"We got a lot of turnovers and long rebounds," Dudley said. "When you are not taking the ball from out of bounds you can run a little bit more. We had more of an aggressive mindset."

The Suns built their biggest halftime lead of the season (56-42) after the first substitution of Michael Beasley, who has been more noted this season for having the worst plus-minus (the difference in scoring when he is on the floor) in the NBA. Beasley entered at power forward after Luis Scola scored on a follow for a 14-13 Suns lead.

Phoenix scored on seven straight possessions to open a 27-20 lead and prompt a timeout called by Utah coach Tyrone Corbin. The Suns finished the first quarter with a 12-point lead and a season-best 34 points by taking 27 shots without committing a turnover.

The Suns stretched the lead to 18 early in the second quarter thanks to strong defense and got a big boost in the middle of the quarter from Markieff Morris, who had a stellar stretch of back-to-back interior blocked shots and back-to-back perimeter scores that staved off a mild Utah threat.

Phoenix did not score for the final 3:34 of the first half but went to the locker room with its largest halftime lead of the season at 56-42.

"It's so much easier when you're playing downhill rather than uphill," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.

Dudley had 13 at the half, Dragic had 10. The Suns were blowing by the Jazz with 15 first-half fast-break points, thanks in part to 10 Utah turnovers.

"We had opportunities to come back but we could just never get over the hump because they had their confidence going," Corbin said about his Jazz. "They ran hard and cut hard and ran harder than we did."

Contributing: The Associated Press

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