Tonight the Phoenix Suns (44-18) can sweep the season series and take over first place in the Western Conference if they beat the Utah Jazz (45-17).
And it looks like the Suns will have yet another advantage besides owning them so far (2-0 in matchups this season) and being at home where the fans are rocking it. Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley Jr., the Jazz All-Star back court, will miss the game with lingering issues. Mitchell has an ankle sprain while Conley has right hamstring tightness. Royce O’Neal is also questionable for the game.
Don’t assume a big Suns win though. Whatever injuries the Jazz face this year, and there have been some but not a lot, they keep winning. They are 10-3 without Conley and 6-3 without Mitchell. Conley has been dealing with hamstring issues for the past two months, missing 13 of their 49 games with on-again-off-again pain. Mitchell had been healthy, but rolled his ankle a couple of weeks ago and has missed their last six games.
The Suns, meanwhile, are getting back to healthy again.
Jae Crowder remains doubtful for Friday night’s game, but Dario Saric — with his own injury management issues with a rolled ankle — has been upgraded to probable. The only other mention on the Suns injury report is Abdel Nader, who is out indefinitely due to knee surgery.
Suns and Jazz tip off at 7:00pm tonight on Bally Sports Arizona (TV) and 98.7 FM (Radio).
If the Suns win, they will be tied for the best record in the NBA and will hold the tiebreaker over the Jazz for home court advantage in the playoffs if the season ended the same way.
After tonight, the Suns will have 9 games left before the postseason starts.