PHOENIX (AP) -- Rodney Rogers won the NBA's Sixth Man award two
years ago, so it was business as usual when he came off the bench
to lead the Phoenix Suns to another win.
Rogers had a season-high 23 points, including eight during a
31-point third quarter as Phoenix blew the game open, in the Suns'
98-76 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
"I'm just having a lot of fun out there right now," said
Rogers, who is averaging 17.5 points and shooting 58.5 percent over
the last six games. "My teammates have got a lot of confidence in
me, so when I'm open they give me the ball. But I'm working as
well, knocking open shots down and trying to create for the team."
Penny Hardaway had 17 points and Shawn Marion 16 for the Suns,
who won their third straight for the first time this season.
"Rodney's playing great," Hardaway said. "Before every game
he and I get together. I say, 'I'll take care of the starting
unit,' and he says, 'I'll take care of the bench."'
Marion also had seven rebounds and five blocks -- all in the
third quarter -- as the Suns held Utah to opponent's lows for
scoring for the quarter (14) and second half (29).
The Jazz, who play Indiana at home Saturday night, rested John
Stockton and Karl Malone most of the fourth quarter after falling
behind by 28 points.
"The guys rallied and played very, very well in the second
half," Suns coach Scott Skiles said.
Malone had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Jazz, while
Stockton finished with seven assists and six points in 26 minutes.
Stockton had one steal, his 2,999th in his attempt to become the
first player with 3,000.
"I'm frustrated," Malone said. "We aren't even thinking about
complete games right now. We're down quarter to quarter."
The teams played Monday, with the Suns winning 111-104 in
overtime, and this was another close one -- five ties and 11 lead
changes through the first 28:14.
Phoenix led 10-4 early on, and that was the widest margin until
the Suns opened a 67-54 lead with a 15-0 run.
Bo Outlaw scored with 4:52 left in the third quarter, sending
Phoenix to a 13-point lead.
Dan Majerle hit 3-pointers 1:10 apart, Hardaway made a free
throw and Rogers nailed a 3-pointer with 42 seconds left, and
Phoenix took a 79-61 lead into the fourth quarter.
Tom Gugliotta made a 16-footer and two free throws in the first
1:52 of the fourth, and Utah, with its stars on the bench, was
unable to respond.
Rogers capped a 41-11 sustained surge in 15:15 with a
three-point play with 5:54 left, giving the Suns a 91-64 lead.
"We kind of just hung out and settled for the long jump shot,"
Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "We had no ball movement. Everybody
knew where the ball was going to go and we just threw it away. It's
pretty tough to win that way."
Game notes Stockton has 23 steals this season. ... Stockton also had
no 3-pointers (0-for-1) to remain at 797. ... Marbury had a
season-high 33 points against Utah on Monday, but scored eight this
time. ... The Suns, 5-1 in six games, also have the first
three-game winning streak at home. ... The Jazz committed 21
turnovers, improving their league-worst average to 18.6.