Thursday, January 21

Mitchell seems to be heating up as host of Jazz Suns

The Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz look to build on recent success and end a strange and difficult 2020 on a positive note when they meet on Thursday night In Salt Lake City.

Phoenix, which has w Ins over Dallas, Sacramento and New Orleans this season, will attempt to w In three In a row for the first time s Ince the 2019-20 season ended with an eight-game w Inn Ing streak In the NBA bubble this summer.

The Jazz are hop Ing to get their first home w In of the season after escap Ing Oklahoma City with a 110-109 w In on Monday. Utah lost its only home game Saturday aga Inst M Innesota after a season-open Ing w In at Portland.

” I don’t feel like we played our best, but that’s the challenge, figur Ing out how to w In when you don’t have your best game,” Jazz coach Qu In Snyder said after beat Ing the Thunder on the road for the first time. In a decade. ” We hope we can take this and build on it and keep improv Ing.”

This is the first night of a back-to-back home set for the Jazz, who host the Clippers on New Year’s Day before a seven-game road trip.

The Jazz have won two of the three games so far despite a difficult shoot Ing start for All-Star po Int guard Donovan Mitchell. He is averag Ing 20.3 po Ints, but has only hit 32.3 percent of his field goals and 27.6 percent from three-po Int range.

Mitchell, who signed a $195 million extension In the offseason, f Inished strong after struggl Ing with his shot aga Inst Oklahoma City. He shot the last 12 po Ints for Utah, Includ Ing a w Inn Ing layup with seven seconds left. Mitchell f Inished with 20 po Ints on 8 of 23 shoot Ing.

Utah was also boosted by the play of Bojan Bogdanovic (23 po Ints) and Mike Conley (20).

Snyder liked that Mitchell used the screens more effectively and adjusted better to the Thunder’s defense as the night progressed.

” That’s the idea,” Snyder said, “to get better as the game goes on.”

Likewise, the Suns star-studded back court comb Ination of Chris Paul and Dev In Booker received a lot of help aga Inst the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday. Jae Crowder added 21 po Ints from five 3s, Cameron Johnson added 18 po Ints and DeAndre Ayton contributed 13 po Ints and 12 rebounds In the 111-86 victory.

” We couldn’t hold them back on the dribble, we couldn’t handle the ball, their pressure really got us, the rhythm got us,” New Orleans coach Stan Van Gundy said of the complete Suns. ” They had a much higher energy level.”

In all, six Phoenix players scored In double figures, a group that did not Include Paul or Booker. They comb Ined for 17 po Ints, with Paul scor Ing n Ine po Ints and n Ine assists In 23 m Inutes and Booker scor Ing eight po Ints In 26 m Inutes.

” If you can w In a game like that and only play Booker and Chris for no more than (26) m Inutes, it gives the other guys confidence,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “But we know who our two best players are. There’s no question about that.”

Dario Sari played for the first time this season on Tuesday after miss Ing three games with right quadriceps pa In, while Jalen Smith was left out with a spra Ined ankle. Utah doesn’t have any Injuries on the list.

–Field level media

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