Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin believes his team is starting to show some growth and hopes the momentum will continue Friday night on the road against the Phoenix Suns.
The Jazz are coming off an exciting 99-96 win over the mighty San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night as Mo Williams hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer to extend Utah's winning streak to a season-best four games. Williams was isolated behind the 3-point line near the Utah bench and buried a shot over Spurs guard Danny Green as time expired.
"I didn't want to leave them any time," Williams said of the last shot. "Just needed to get a little space."
Williams had just eight points for the Jazz, who were led by Paul Millsap's 24 points and 12 rebounds. Al Jefferson had 21 points and Gordon Hayward recorded 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists off the bench. Utah forward Derek Favors returned to action after a five-game absence due to plantar fasciitis and scored six points in 12 minutes.
Hayward has come off the bench the last eight games and is averaging 14.2 ppg in that time. He averaged 13.3 ppg as a starter.
Utah improved to 9-1 at home and will try to work on its 4-9 ledger outside of Salt Lake City. The Jazz are scheduled to play five of six games on the road.
Phoenix ended a season-long, seven-game losing streak with Wednesday's 82-80 victory versus the Memphis Grizzlies. Goran Dragic countered a late basket by Grizzlies guard Rudy Gay to lift the Suns to victory.
Dragic's scoop shot with 0.5 seconds remaining improved Phoenix's mark to 1-1 on a season-high, five-game homestand. Dragic finished with 12 points and eight assists, while Jared Dudley and Shannon Brown added 15 points apiece for the Suns, who won for the first time since Nov. 27 at Cleveland.
"It was a much needed win, obviously for us and once again it was against a real quality team," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "I thought our defense was really good. We struggled offensively, but I thought are defense was really good. We did a good job."
A 19-10 advantage on the offensive boards helped the Suns hold Memphis to a season-low 80 points. Dragic, who also contributed eight assists, five rebounds and one steal in 33 minutes, has 20 double-digit efforts in the first 22 games, including four 20-point results.
The Suns will try to win consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 21-23. That could be a problem since six of Phoenix's 11 home games have been decided by three points or fewer. Phoenix is 6-5 in the desert.
Phoenix, which will also host Sacramento and Charlotte on the homestand, suffered a 94-81 loss at Utah on Nov. 10 this season. The Suns, though, have won nine of the last 14 meetings between the teams. The Jazz have lost three in a row and five of six trips to the Valley of the Sun.