The Suns will look to carry an extreme amount of momentum into Utah after a remarkable win against the Spurs last night. The Jazz have started off the season 0-2, losing their home opener to the Rockets 104-93 and then got destroyed in Dallas by the Mavs 120-102 on Thursday.
It's a good break in the schedule for the Suns as the Jazz are expected to be one of the worst teams in the West and have a very short and young bench. With that in mind, I expect Jeff Hornacek to go a little deeper into his rotation and shore up the minutes a bit more.
Eric Bledsoe played 39 minutes last night and Goran Dragic got to 34, but the Jazz are similarly a guard heavy team that likes to play Trey Burke, Alec Burks, and Gordon Hayward 32-37 minutes a game. Keep an eye on how Hornacek staggers his guards on a back-to-back and expect to see a lot more of Gerald Green, who only played 19 minutes last night.
One area to watch: the center position
There will be two centers trying to prove themselves in big ways tonight. Miles Plumlee sat on the bench last night and saw the full Alex Len experience, as last year's #5 overall pick controlled the boards and used his length to alter just about everything in the key defensively. It was the best game of his career against Tim freaking Duncan, so is this a sign of things to come? Plumlee has to be happy for his teammate, but he still wants his starting spot and he will have a small margin of error now with Len applying pressure for the spot.
On the other side, the Jazz made headlines yesterday by signing shooting guard Alec Burks to a $42 million extension over four years. This means the Jazz are committed to Burke, Burks, Hayward, and Derrick Favors for a lot of money over the next couple of years. This makes former #3 overall pick Enes Kanter at center the odd man out. Kanter will enter restricted free agency this year with something to prove and has added a three-point shot to his arsenal for his contract year. Look for him to come out with a little extra edge tonight.
As for the backups, Len will look to ride the momentum of the game of his life against the even longer Rudy Gobert. I like what I've seen from Gobert so far and I am very excited for this matchup off of the bench.
Projected starting lineups
Phoenix Suns: Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Miles Plumlee
Utah Jazz: Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter
Two key statistics
Isaiah Thomas has 46 points in 50 minutes this season. Look for him to have another great night against a rookie bench backcourt of Dante Exum and Rodney Hood.
The Mavericks scored 26 field goals at the basket on Thursday against the Jazz. That is a lot. Watching the tape this was a combination of the perimeter defense getting repeatedly blown by and the help defense not rotating quickly enough. Look for Hydra to terrorize the Utah defense.
The Suns will be absolutely buzzing after their huge win at home, but will they bring that momentum into Utah or come out flat? I think there's a very good chance for the latter and the Suns could start out slow again. However, the Suns are too good and too deep of a team to fall to the Jazz and I don't see them having two poor shooting performances in a row.
Suns 111, Jazz 96