Game Preview: Suns at Jazz (Amare Trade Rumor Edition)

Is Earl Clark smiling?(Photo by Max Simbron)

Tonight the Suns face a tough challenge in Salt Lake City versus the Jazz. While every game is an adventure for our beloved Suns, this is an especially difficult match up.

The Jazz seem to be putting things together as we near the mid point of the season. They've won 6 out of their last 7 with victories over Dallas, Miami, Cleveland, New Jersey, and San Antonio.

You may recall the last second victory over the Cavaliers in which a recent D-League call up, Sundiata Gaines, hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the Jazz's 97-96 victory over  on Jan. 14. The team has gone 7-2 since he was signed to the first of two 10-day contracts out of the NBA Development League.

Numbers

If you're into Hollinger and his rankings, the Jazz are ranked #2 currently in his power rankings. If you aren't into the Hollinger break down, here are some more traditional numbers for the Jazz:

 

STAT

#

NBA RANK

PPG

101

10

FG%

48

1

OPP FG%

45

10

RPG

40.5

22

OPP RPG

39.6

6

ASST PG

26

1

STLPG

7.7

8

 

Commentary

The Suns and Jazz are two teams with similar records going in opposite directions in the Western Conference. The Jazz have shaken off some early disappointments, such as losing to Minnesota, and sporadic play and have become the usual Jazz we are used to seeing-a Jerry Sloan Utah Jazz that plays efficiently and consistently. 

Utah has gone toe to toe with the goliaths of the NBA and done well: they have beaten San Antonio (all 4 meetings), and some other squads you may have heard of-the Cavaliers, Magic, Lakers, Mavericks (in Dallas), and Trail Blazers.

Tonight presents the first test for the befuddled Suns against the Jazz. Last year the Suns and Jazz split 4 match ups, each team holding their own court. This year is this year though, and I believe the Suns will have to play a nearly flawless game to pull this out. I realize that isn't too much of a stretch to say that now, however things may be changing for the Suns.

I'm not speaking of the up and down play since December, the mental anguish that came with the last road trip in which they lost double digit leads to Indiana and Atlanta, the destruction in Charlotte (wow I could go on for awhile), the struggle for three quarters that was the last home game against Golden State, the 4-6 record in their last 10 games...

Yes I am talking about the Amare Stoudemire circus that has begun. It will be interesting to see how this team reacts to it between now and February 18 (or earlier, shoul a deal go down). My personal belief is that the distraction will not be a good one. If you are Amare Stoudemire and hearing your name a lot gets you jacked up, and the promise of a potential sign and trade extension-$$$$$$$$ makes you happy, your play may improve. But if you aren't Amare, how do you feel? And I believe this to be a valid question worth considering. Amare hasn't been talking about his contract this season. I give him credit for that. And until recently, it hasn't been discussed much by the national or local media. But as we approach the trade deadline we are hearing more and more about it. As PHX Stan PHX Seth recently reported, Steve Kerr and Amare's reps have met, and it sounds like max or nothing. And it sounds like Kerr and Co. don't want to pay the max. So here we go...

So as a Sun, are you distracted by the news and the media stories? Are you upset about it, do you think you may be part of it (a piece in an Amare trade?) If you happen to think this team is on the verge of being blown up, perhaps your mind isn't so much on winning a game but more on how the team's status will impact your own personal situation.

(By the way, I don't believe the recent rumor published by a certain ESPN reporter and do not intend to add any credence to the speculation that certain members of the Suns are angry with Amare or vice versa, etc.)

Regardless, the Suns still have to attempt to match up with Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer and the rest of the Jazz tonight. This should be a good test for Robin Lopez against Mehmet Okur who can work inside and out. Williams is a handful for nearly everyone, and averages 18 points and nearly 10 assists versus the Suns.

If you thought a victory over the Nets wasn't a big deal, check out what Deron Williams thought of the Jazz's recent victory over the hapless Nets (who Amare would play for):

"I thought it was as big a win as we could have all season. We came out from the start of the game and acted like we wanted the game."

 

More

  • Utah is averaging 112.0 points and shooting 54.3 percent during their recent 5 game home winning streak.
  • The Suns have given up 118 points per game during their recent four game road losing streak.
  • The Suns play seven of their next 10 on the road and are 1-11 on the road since Nov. 29.
  • Steve Nash needs two assists to reach the 8,000 plateau for his career. He is currently 8th All-Time, sandwiched between Rod Strickland and Gary Payton.
  • The Jazz are 17-6 at home, and 11-13 vs. Western Conference opponents
  • The Suns are allowing 110 ppg while scoring 106 ppg on the road
  • Robin Lopez has scored in double figures in 5 of his last 6 games


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Carlos Boozer 43 35.2 7.8 14.5 53.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.8 4.9 76.9 1.9 8.7 10.6 3.4 2.9 1.1 0.5 3.6 19.3
Deron Williams 39 37.1 6.8 13.8 49.0 1.2 3.1 39.3 4.2 5.4 77.5 0.8 3.1 3.9 9.6 3.3 1.1 0.2 2.7 18.9
Mehmet Okur 39 29.0 4.4 10.3 42.6 1.2 3.0 38.5 2.7 3.3 83.5 1.8 4.9 6.8 1.8 1.9 0.5 0.9 3.2 12.6
Andrei Kirilenko 37 28.6 3.9 8.1 48.0 0.5 1.6 34.5 3.0 4.2 71.6 1.1 3.5 4.6 2.7 1.3 1.1 1.0 1.6 11.3
Paul Millsap 43 26.0 4.2 7.7 55.3 0.0 0.1 25.0 1.8 2.6 70.9 1.9 3.9 5.8 1.1 1.3 0.6 1.1 3.3 10.3
Ronnie Brewer 43 32.5 4.2 8.3 50.1 0.2 0.6 25.9 1.5 2.4 63.1 0.9 2.7 3.6 2.9 1.0 1.8 0.3 1.7 10.0
C.J. Miles 24 21.2 3.5 8.6 40.3 1.0 3.3 31.3 0.5 0.8 63.2 0.4 1.7 2.1 1.3 1.0 0.8 0.3 3.0 8.5
Wes Matthews 43 22.1 3.0 6.2 47.4 0.7 1.9 36.3 1.5 1.9 78.8 0.5 1.4 1.9 1.1 1.0 0.4 0.1 1.5 8.0
Kyle Korver 15 11.5 2.1 3.6 57.4 0.9 1.5 56.5 0.2 0.3 75.0 0.0 1.2 1.2 1.3 0.6 0.2 0.2 1.3 5.2
Ronnie Price 24 13.8 1.9 4.3 43.7 0.3 0.9 38.1 0.7 1.1 65.4 0.4 1.0 1.4 2.4 1.2 0.7 0.2 1.8 4.8
Sundiata Gaines 8 7.1 1.1 2.5 45.0 0.1 0.6 20.0 0.5 1.0 50.0 0.1 0.8 0.9 1.1 0.4 0.3 0.0 1.0 2.9
Kyrylo Fesenko 26 8.4 1.1 2.0 56.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 1.0 48.1 0.6 1.3 1.8 0.3 0.5 0.2 0.3 1.6 2.7
Kosta Koufos 21 3.6 0.4 1.0 40.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 0.6 75.0 0.4 0.7 1.1 0.2 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.7 1.3


Suns vs Jazz coverage
Suns vs Jazz preview
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Jazz News: Koufos to D-League
More Jazz: Salt Lake Tribune

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