NBA Betting Preview: Utah Jazz at Phoenix

By: Brad Young | Monday, February 14, 2011
Steve Nash

Steve Nash has strung together four consecutive double-doubles.

Utah and Phoenix, two teams vying for playoff positioning in the Western Conference, renew acquaintances with Tuesday’s tilt.  The Jazz (31-24 straight up, 24-30-1 against the spread) currently find themselves in seventh place in the Western Conference, but only two games separate teams in fifth through eighth.

The Suns (26-26 SU, 23-27-2 ATS) continue to play .500 ball, and they remain in second place in the Pacific Division standings.  Phoenix would miss the playoffs if the regular season ended today, and the team is searching for some momentum before the upcoming All-Star break.

Utah is currently mired in a two-game SU and ATS losing streak after suffering Friday’s setback to Phoenix as six-point home ‘chalk,’ 95-83.  The combined 178 points never seriously threatened the 208 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash the second consecutive contest.  That marked Ty Corbin’s first appearance as head coach for the Jazz after Jerry Sloan suddenly stepped down after 23 years on the bench.

Utah jumped to a 12-point advantage at the end of the first quarter, 31-19, but the team was outscored by the Suns in the second half, 51-27.  Phoenix grabbed more rebounds, 47-45, but the Jazz delivered more assists, 27-19.

The Suns shot 40 percent (36-of-89) from the field and just 22 percent (5-of-23) from behind the arc.  Veteran point guard Steve Nash paced the offense with 18 points and 10 assists, while forward Hakim Warrick provided 16 and six rebounds.

Utah connected at a 44-percent clip (34-of-78) from the field, and 41 percent (7-of-17) from 3-point land.  Point guard Deron Williams accounted for 19 and 14 assists in the setback, while small forward C.J. Miles had 19 and six boards.

Phoenix has now won the previous four meetings with Utah SU and ATS, with the ‘under’ prevailing each time.  The only other meeting this season occurred Oct. 28 when the Suns triumphed as a 7 ½-point road underdog, 110-94.  The combined 204 points failed to eclipse the 209-point closing total.  However, the Jazz are a surprising 8-2 ATS the last 10 road meetings in this series.

Phoenix was riding a three-game SU and ATS winning streak before falling to Sacramento Sunday as a 9 ½-point home favorite, 113-108.  The combined 221 points soared ‘over’ the 205 ½-point closing total, ending a string of three straight ‘under’ outings.

The Suns entered halftime with a seven-point advantage, 57-50, but they were outscored in the second half, 63-51.  Phoenix was on the short end of rebounding, 51-36, and assists, 25-19, while shooting 47 percent (42-of-90) from the field and 30 percent (6-of-20) from behind the arc.  Nash provided 22 and 18 assists in the setback, while center Channing Frye had 15 and seven boards.

Utah guard Raja Bell (calf injury), forward Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) and guard Ronnie Price (toe) are ‘questionable’ versus the Suns.  The Jazz host Golden State Wednesday before embarking on a three-game road trip at Dallas, Indiana and Detroit.  Utah has seen the ‘over’ go 10-3 its last 13 road games.

Phoenix guard Goran Dragic (foot) is ‘questionable’ against the Jazz.  The Suns continue a three-game homestand with games against Dallas and Atlanta.  Phoenix is 6-2 ATS its past eight outings overall.

Tuesday’s contest is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. PT from Phoenix’s US Airways Center.

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