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Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz NBA Preview & Free Pick

NBA Basketball Matchup: Suns vs Jazz

With just two games remaining in the regular season, both of these teams are still uncertain if they will be heading to the playoffs this season or to the golf course come Monday.  

Date/Time: 10:30 PM ET, Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Venue: EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
Broadcast: TNT
Spread: Utah -3.5
Over/Under: 204.5

Matchup | Preview

However, Utah will have the final say if it can avoid dropping its eighth straight over the visiting Suns on Tuesday, who are ready to pounce at the chance of grabbing the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot.

They will though, have to pry it from the Jazz’s clutches (34-30), as they are not about to let go of their chances to clinch the team’s first playoff appearance in two years.

Even though Utah’s playoff chances wouldn’t end with a loss on Tuesday, falling to 0-3 against Phoenix this season could supply the Suns with just enough momentum to lock up the eighth seed with either a victory over West-leading San Antonio on Wednesday or a Utah loss versus Portland the following night.

So, the Suns (33-31) do indeed still maintain control of their postseason fate, trailing by one game behind Utah coming into this one.

Phoenix snatched a 107-105 win on back on April 4 over the Jazz, and could extend Utah’s miserable record versus the Suns, which hasn’t registered a win since a March 4, 2010.

Nevertheless, Phoenix will have to do a much better job than they did on Saturday after falling 118-107 at home to Denver.

The Suns got hammered on the transition as Denver dominated, scoring 26 fast break points and adding 20 points off 17 Phoenix turnovers.  [soliloquy id=”82219″]

After shooting 54 percent in the first half, the Suns slumped to 37.5 percent (9 for 24) in the third quarter, something they will need to fix pronto if they want to avoid an early summer break.

Meanwhile, the Jazz posted their third consecutive victory after rallying from a 12-point second-half deficit for a 117-107 overtime win over visiting Orlando on Saturday.

The win pushed Utah’s home win streak to four straight since the April 4 loss to the Suns, improving to 23-8 at Energy Solutions Arena.

Steve Nash hit the game-winning shot with 1.7 seconds remaining in that game, finishing with 13 points and nine assists.

Utah will have to limit the two-time MVP, who is averaging 12.5 points and 12.5 assists against the Jazz this season, to minimal opportunities to create offense in this one, while allowing enough flow to orchestrate their own offensive opportunities.

Utah will need big performances from point guard Devin Harris who leads the team with averages of 23.7 points and 6.0 assists during their winning streak, as well as Al Jefferson who is scoring 20.0 points per game with 15.3 rebounds during the same stretch.

Free Pick : Phoenix- Suns get another one in Salt Lake, then beat a resting Spurs team to snatch the eighth spot.

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