The Utah Jazz (22-28) are turning things around. They’ve now won four of their last five games after a stunning 129-99 home thrashing of the Golden State Warriors. Ricky Rubio had a spectacular game as he had 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting with 11 assists. Joe Ingles and Donovan Mitchell added 20 points apiece while Derrick Favors had a strong 18-point, ten-rebound double-double as they shot a blistering 58 percent from the field. The Jazz offense has been clicking for a while now. They’ve scored 120 or more points three times in the last two weeks.
They will look to keep that run going against the Phoenix Suns (18-34), who snapped a dreadful five-game losing skid with a dominant 102-88 home win over the Dallas Mavericks. Rookie Josh Jackson continued his impressive play of late. He had 21 points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block. He’s now scored between 18 and 21 points in four of his last five games. TJ Warren added his obligatory 20 points, while Marquese Chriss had 15 points and 12 boards. The Suns will be without point guard Isaiah Canaan, who suffered a horrific broken ankle, as well as big man Greg Monroe, who has agreed to a buyout.
Three keys to the game
Positive vibes - The Jazz should be feeling really good about themselves heading into this game. Not only have they won four of their last five, but they have also been arresting their awful road record of late. They’ve won three of their last four away from home, including a big win at Toronto. They should feel confident of keeping up their impressive run of late against a very shaky Suns team.
Joe Ingles - Ingles has been shooting lights out from beyond the arc recently. He’s hitting an incredible 56 percent of his 3-pointers over the last seven games and has secretly been the bellwether for the Jazz offense recently. They are a perfect 5-0 in the last five games where he’s hit at least three 3-pointers. He’ll need to take advantage of the Suns’ lax wing defense if the Jazz are to maintain their impressive form at home.
Frontcourt battle - Chriss and Chandler will have their hands full against Favors and Gobert, who have been playing very well lately. The Jazz have the potential to boss the paint if Chriss and Chandler are unable to contain Utah’s two talented big men.
Matchup to watch
Donovan Mitchell vs Josh Jackson - It’ll be an intriguing battle between two promising rookies in Mitchell and Jackson. Mitchell has continued to have a tremendous rookie season as he’s averaging well over 20 points per game in 2018. Meanwhile, Jackson has only just started to come to his own offensively and will look to show why he was picked nine spots higher than Mitchell in the draft.
Jazz projected starting lineup
PG - Ricky Rubio | SG - Donovan Mitchell | SF - Joe Ingles | PF - Derrick Favors | C - Rudy Gobert
Suns projected starting lineup
PG - Devin Booker | SG - Josh Jackson | SF - TJ Warren | PF - Marquese Chriss | C - Tyson Chandler
The Jazz’s backcourt duo of Rubio and Mitchell will have a highly advantageous matchup given the Suns’ awful perimeter defense. Rubio put up a strong fantasy night against the Suns earlier in the season with 15 points, 11 assists, and four steals. Rudy Gobert is also due a possible bounce-back game after a quiet nine points and six rebounds in the win over the Warriors. The Stifle Tower had a dominant line of 16 points, 14 boards, and five blocks in his first meeting with Chandler.
As for the Suns, Warren appears to be one of their more reliable fantasy players. He’s topped 20 points in eight of the last nine games he’s played. He also had 27 in their first meeting. Meanwhile, Jackson seems more of a question mark even with his impressive play of late.
The Jazz have been pretty unreliable on the road this season, going just 7-19 (11-15 ATS). As good as they've been recently, it's tough to see them running away from the Suns, who can be pesky at home. With Booker back in the lineup and Jackson playing his best basketball of the season, they have the firepower to cover the 5.5-point spread.
The Jazz just about edge out the Suns in a close contest, 97-94.
This game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona and AT&T SportsNet - Rocky Mountain. Tip-off is at 9:00 pm Eastern.