SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz will face the fifth-most efficient defense in the NBA tonight when they match up with the Phoenix Suns. The Suns have the second-best record in the league behind the Jazz and can win the tie-breaker between the two teams with a victory in Phoenix.
In the two teams’ first meeting, the Suns eclipsed the Jazz 106-95, the lowest scoring output of the season for the league’s second-ranked offense.
Before the game, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said playing with pace and in space would be key against the Suns defense.
“They have length, and they shrink the floor so to speak,” Snyder said. “We want to get out and run and try to play in space, and give ourselves the best opportunity that we can.”
The Suns own the best pick and roll defense against initiators in the two-man game allowing ball handlers to finish with a 44 percent effective field goal percentage. One reason is the combination of Chris Paul, one of the league’s best defensive point guards, and Mikal Bridges who has developed into one of the premier role players in the NBA.
“He’s long, he’s athletic, he’s a committed defender,” Snyder said of Bridges. “You really have to be precise and forceful, whether it be attacking the basket or getting into your shot because he does cover a lot of ground. He’s a really good pick and roll defender.”
In the Suns’ road win in Utah, Bridges helped limit Bojan Bogdanovic to one of his worst performances in a Jazz uniform. Bogdanovic scored just three points on 0-5 in 28 minutes, while Bridges scored 16 points on 4-6 shooting from beyond the three-point line in the win.
The Jazz and Suns tip-off at 8 pm MT, the game will be broadcast on ESPN.