The Jazz have won six of their last eight to pull within a half game of Denver for the eighth and final postseason position in the West. Utah visits the Nuggets on Sunday.
After an 88-83 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, the Jazz posted a 91-77 win over Golden State on Wednesday to wrap up a two-game homestand.
Utah shot nearly 50 percent and five of its players scored in double figures, but coach Jerry Sloan wasn’t impressed after his team blew nearly all of a 26-point lead.
“I wasn’t pleased at all,” he said. “Ask (the players) how bad they want to make the playoffs, how far they want to advance in this game. I was very disappointed.”
Bell explained his coach’s anger, saying, “His job is to never let us feel satisfied, and I don’t think that any of us are.”
The Jazz starting point guard Carlos Arroyo missed the Wednesday’s game with a sore back he injured Monday against the Lakers. His status for Friday’s game is unknown.
The Suns, who have the worst record in the West, have dropped 11 of their last 14, including a 103-90 loss at Dallas on Monday.
Stoudemire had led the Suns in scoring in the last 11 games, tallying over 20 points in each contest. He fell one game short of matching the club record for leading the team in scoring set by Charlie Scott in 1974-75.
The Jazz have won seven of the last eight meetings with the Suns.
STANDINGS (through March 10): Jazz - 7th place, 12 GB, Midwest Division. Suns - 7th place, 26 1/2 GB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Jazz - Kirilenko, 17 ppg; Kirilenko and Ostertag, 8.1 rpg; Arroyo, 5.1 apg. Suns - Stoudemire, 19 ppg; Marion, 9.4 rpg; Eisley, 4.2 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Jazz, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 7; Jazz, 96-92. At Phoenix, Kirilenko had 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, helping Jerry Sloan become the eighth NBA coach with 900 victories. Stoudemire led the Suns with 20 points, and tied the club record with 10 blocked shots. Larry Nance also had 10 at Philadelphia on Jan. 4, 1988.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Jazz - 10-21 on the road; Suns - 14-17 at home.