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Jazz-Suns Preview

AP - Sports

The Phoenix Suns turned in their best shooting performance of the season to take the opener of this home-and-home set with the lowly Utah Jazz.

Winning the second half of it could be even easier.

The Suns try to drop the Jazz to 0-10 on the road for the season Saturday night - one day after these teams staged an entertaining uptempo game.

Phoenix (9-7) won 112-101 on Friday behind 54.7 percent shooting. The Suns actually shot 65.5 percent through three quarters before turning in a 17-point fourth quarter with the outcome no longer in doubt.

Markieff Morris scored 23 points off the bench and Goran Dragic added 19 and nine assists as Phoenix won for the fourth time in five games.

''We just tried to push the ball,'' Dragic said. ''Tried to get to the middle of the paint and tried to find open guys. When we share the ball, we're a really dangerous team.''

Utah (2-15) had three days off after a rare victory Monday over Chicago. Coach Tyrone Corbin was stunned that his team played such lackadaisical defense since that was the focus of the Jazz's preparations.

"That's what they do," Corbin said. "We gotta get back. We talked about it the last couple days."

The Jazz have lost 10 straight on the road dating to last season. They are trying to avoid their first 10-game road slide in a single season since they dropped 17 in a row from Nov. 21, 1981-Feb. 6, 1982.

This season's road woes started with an 87-84 loss in Phoenix on Nov. 1. Eric Bledsoe won it for the Suns with a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left.

Since that contest, the Jazz's next eight road defeats have been by an average of 17.9 points - and none decided by less than 10.

The Jazz didn't have rookie guard Trey Burke available then. Burke scored 13 points Friday but he picked up two fouls in four first-quarter minutes and had to sit.

"I think it was definitely a bummer getting into foul trouble in the first five, 10 minutes," Burke said.

Making matters worse Friday for Utah was Bledsoe's return after he missed six straight games with a shin contusion. He scored 19 points off the bench after starting in his first nine appearances.

Utah got a pair of injured players back Friday in Enes Kanter and Brandon Rush, but was puzzled by Phoenix's transition success.

"We're going to have to look at the film and do a better job tomorrow definitely trying to slow them down in transition and figure it out in the half-court game as well," forward Marvin Williams said.

The Suns, 5-2 at home, are looking for a repeat performance.

''Everybody is getting involved,'' Morris said. ''We're getting a lot of 3-pointers. We're a great 3-point shooting team. We're doing a great job of getting the ball inside and doing the pick-and-roll really well. That's basically it. Our guards have done a great job of finding players and getting them the ball.''

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