Phoenix Suns (53-28 SU 45-35-1 ATS) vs. Utah Jazz (53-28 SU 48-29-3 ATS) EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT 10:30 PM EST Wednesday April 14, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Suns +6/Jazz -6
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Tonight in an important Western Conference match up, in terms of playoff positioning, the Utah Jazz host the Phoenix Suns. These 2 teams have the same records and the winner will get the #3 seed in the conference and if the Jazz win and Dallas loses at home to San Antonio they will get the #2 seed. If the Suns lose they will be the 4th seed and Denver will be the 5th seed, but a loss for the Jazz would be more costly, as they would slip down to the 5th seed and Denver would get the 4th seed.
A loss for the Jazz in this game would mean they would have to hit the road for a 1st round playoff series against Denver. That is not a good scenario for them, as the Nuggets are one of the best home teams in the NBA and the Jazz are only 1 game above .500 on the road.
This season Utah is 32-8 at home and Phoenix is 21-19 on the road.
The Jazz have won 2 in a row and are 7-3 in their last 10 games and the Suns have also won 2 straight and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.
Utah has to play solid defense in this game and not let it become a run-and-gun affair against a Phoenix team that leads the league in scoring.
Utah PG Deron Williams will be counted on to slow down Phoenix PG Steve Nash and if he can slow the tempo of the game the Jazz have a HUGE advantage, as they are a much better half court team.
One key match up in this game is at the PF position between Carlos Boozer (19.7 ppg 11.3 rpg) and Amare Stoudamire (23.1 ppg 9 rpg). Stoudamire really has to hit the boards and play good inside D, as Phoenix will be without starting C Robin Lopez, who is out with a back injury. Boozer left Utah’s game last night with a strained ribcage and he will be a game time decision tonight.
Utah has won 2 of the 3 games they have played against Phoenix this season and the Suns have lost their last 4 games and 6 of their last 7 in Utah.
In their last game the Suns laid a beat down on the Denver Nuggets last night crushing them 123-101. The high scorer for Phoenix in the game was Amare Stoudemire going for 26 points on 10/16 shooting. For the game the Suns shot well going 43/80 from the field for a solid FG% of 53.8%. On defense the Suns actually played decent holding the Nuggets to 41/97 shooting for a FG% of 42.3%.
The Jazz also won last night beating the lowly Golden State Warriors 103-94. The high scorer for Utah in the game was Mehmet Okur going for 23 points on 9/15 shooting. For the game the Jazz shot 41/85 for a FG% of 48.2%. On D the Jazz played great holding the Warriors to 32/84 shooting for a FG% of only 38.1%.
This season the Suns are the highest scoring team in the league (110.2 ppg) while the Jazz rank 4th (104.5 ppg). On defense the Jazz ranks 12th in the league in opponents’ points allowed (98.9 ppg) while the Suns only rank 26th (105.6 ppg). The Jazz have been a better team on the boards this season with a rebounding differential of +2.8 rpg while the Suns are at +0.4 rpg.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Jazz rank 4th (94.80) and the Suns rank 7th (93.99).
Phoenix is 24-9-1 ATS in their last 34 games, 1-5 ATS in their last 16 road games, and 14-5 ATS in their last 19 games against teams with a winning percentage above 60%.
Phoenix has an Under record of 5-2-1 in their last 8 road games against teams with a home winning percentage of greater than 60% and an Over record of 3-0-1 in Suns last 4 games playing on 0 days rest.
Utah is 23-8-2 ATS in their last 33 home games, 11-4-1 ATS in their last 16 home games against teams with a winning road record, and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against teams with a winning percentage above 60%.
Utah has an Under record of 5-2-1 in their last 8 games, an Under record of 10-4 in their last 14 home games against teams with a winning road record, and an Under record of 4-0 in their last 4 games playing on 0 days rest.
In the last 8 meetings between these 2 teams the total has gone Over 6 times.
On the injury front C Robin Lopez is Out for Phoenix and C Mehmet Okur and SF Andrei Kirilenko are day-to-day for Utah.
Jason’s Pick: Last night the Jazz played great defense on a high scoring Golden State team and I think they will do the same against Phoenix tonight. Utah will take advantage of the home crowd tonight and not squander the opportunity to host, at least, a 1st round playoff series by losing this game. The Jazz will win this game and have some momentum heading into the post-season.