Suns-Jazz Preview

The Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns have relinquished late leads on their home floor in two biting losses over a span of three days.

Considering their recent success away from home, perhaps heading out for their lone road contest over a nine-game stretch will help reverse their fortunes.

Phoenix tries to avoid losing three in a row for the first time in six weeks Wednesday night when it faces the Utah Jazz.

The Suns (33-23) have fallen to eighth in the Western Conference with back-to-back losses, while Dallas has surpassed them and taken hold of the seventh spot with a three-game winning streak.

Phoenix squandered a 10-point lead with less than 10 minutes to play in a 115-112 loss to Houston on Sunday. Tuesday saw the Suns falter in similar fashion in a 110-101 defeat to Minnesota, as they led by eight with 7:18 remaining before the Timberwolves ended the contest on a 27-10 run, including a 16-6 edge after Goran Dragic fouled out with 3:46 left.

Dragic had 16 points after scoring a career-high 35 against the Rockets, while Markieff Morris scored 24 versus Minnesota for his third straight performance of 21-plus points.

"It is still just one loss," coach Jeff Hornacek said. "It is just the way you lose it. Giving up 35 points tonight in the fourth quarter, (32 Sunday) night in the fourth quarter. You are not going to win games."

Phoenix, which last lost three straight Jan. 10-13, is 19-11 at home on the season but just 4-5 in its last nine. The Suns, who have another four-game homestand following Wednesday's contest, have won five of six road games while averaging 111.8 points and shooting 39.0 percent from 3-point range with Dragic averaging 23.5 points.

The Suns were just 3 of 15 from beyond the arc against the Timberwolves.

The true extent of Derrick Favors' value for the Jazz (20-36) might have been only recently revealed in his absence. Utah had lost three in a row while he was sidelined with a hip injury before he returned to score 20 in a 110-98 home win over Boston on Monday. The Jazz are 0-9 without him and seemed to sorely miss his defensive presence in Saturday's 121-104 loss to Minnesota.

But they've won six of the last seven games in which he's played.

"I felt rusty to tell you the truth but it felt good to be back out there," said Favors, who had three blocks against the Celtics. "I made a lot of open shots and I think I did a good job defensively to help my team win."

Utah is allowing 105.3 points per game when he doesn't play compared to 99.8 when he does. The Jazz have also been outrebounded in seven of the nine games he's missed.

"Having that defensive anchor, that man-child down there helps us a lot," said Alec Burks, who scored 21 versus Boston. "When we see he is also confident in his shot, it makes the whole team confident."

Burks has scored 20 or more in six of his last 11 contests after doing so in six of his first 45.

The Suns took two of three meetings from Utah in November, though Favors averaged 14.3 points and 9.7 rebounds while shooting 63.0 percent.

Phoenix's Gerald Green is averaging 22.7 points over his last seven contests and is shooting 51.3 percent from 3-point range in 10 career games against the Jazz.

What to Read Next