The Phoenix Suns try to record their 50th win when they play host to the Utah Jazz on Sunday in a battle of Western Conference division leaders. Phoenix had an eight-game winning streak snapped on Friday night by the New Orleans Pelicans, while the Jazz enter off a win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night. Both teams are fighting to hold their current positions in their divisions, so this one will be a hard-fought battle. Here’s a closer look at how to bet online on this contest.
Jazz Successful with Defense
The Utah Jazz have one of the top defenders in the game in center Rudy Gobert, and they have been turning it up as a team on the defensive end of late. In winning seven of their last eight, the Jazz have given up 101.3 points per game, which would be tops in the NBA if it was for the whole season.
It certainly helps to have Gobert roaming the paint, as he leads the NBA in rebounds and blocked shots per game with 14.8 and 2.3, respectively. The All-Star is also averaging 15.6 points and shooting 71.6% from the floor this season, but it’s his work on the defensive end that really stands out.
“Gobert is such a good defender,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said after Friday’s win. “When he’s switching, he’s as good as anybody standing in front of guards.”
Utah is also getting some very good play from its other All-Star, guard Donovan Mitchell, who is coming off a career-high seven 3-pointers and 33 points in the win over Dallas. Mitchell is eighth in the NBA with 25.9 points per game while also dishing out 5.2 assists per contest.
Forward Bojan Bogdanovic is a key for the Jazz’s success with his outside shooting. Bogdanovic is hitting 37.7% from beyond the arc this season, averaging 17.8 points to rank second on the team.
Phoenix Trying To Find the Point
The Phoenix Suns have been among the league’s elite all season long, but they’re going through a stretch without perhaps their most important player in guard Chris Paul. The veteran is sidelined for the next few weeks with a thumb injury, taking the league’s top assist man (10.7 per game) out of the lineup.
Paul isn’t the only point guard sidelined, either, as backup Cameron Payne hasn’t played since Jan. 22 with a wrist injury. That leaves a bit more playmaking duties on the shoulders of All-Star guard Devin Booker, though he seems up to the task.
Over the last 10 games, Booker is averaging 26.4 points while also dishing out 5.7 assists per game. He had 12 assists in Thursday’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, then went for 30 points with five assists in the loss to New Orleans on Friday.
Center Deandre Ayton is second on the team with 16.3 points per game, but he’ll need to be more of a presence with Paul out. He needs to be on his game against the Jazz to keep Gobert occupied and make him pay for going to help on other Suns players.
Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Head-to-Head
The Phoenix Suns are 2-0 against the Utah Jazz, winning once at home and once on the road. The home win in late January came by six points, with Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Mike Conley all sitting out, while the road win was just a few days later, with Mitchell and Gobert out and Phoenix winning by eight.
The absence of Paul obviously changes a lot of things when it comes to the NBA odds on this one, though it should still be an exciting contest.
Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Game Information
Game: Utah Jazz (37-22) at Phoenix Suns (49-11)
Location: Footprint Center, Phoenix
Day/Time: Sunday, 3:30 pm ET
Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Betting Lines
Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Prediction
The Phoenix Suns have the depth to overcome the loss of Paul, though they’re taking on a Utah Jazz team that is starting to really find itself, especially on the defensive end. Booker will have to be at his best and his supporting cast has to be hitting from the perimeter for the Suns offense to get its usual output.
We like Utah to get a little revenge in this one, picking up the road win over the short-handed Suns. When making your NBA picks, take the Jazz to win and cover on the road.