SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Maybe even the Utah Jazz are a little bit
surprised by their 3-1 start.
The Jazz had their most consistent offensive performance of the
young season and another dominant rebounding night in a 91-80 win
over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, extending Utah's best start in
"It's great to be 3-1. I don't think anybody expected this, but
with that said we're not making any predictions on how we're going
to do this year," said Matt Harpring, who had 21 points to lead
the Jazz in scoring for the second straight game. "We're going to
go out there and play and we'll see what happens."
So far, so good. DeShawn Stevenson had 16 points and eight
rebounds, while Carlos Arroyo returned after missing two games with
an ankle sprain and finished with 14 points and four assists.
Andrei Kirilenko added 11 points, four rebounds and two blocks
for the Jazz, who improved to 3-0 at home this season and kept the
crowd of 18,852 cheering throughout the night.
"We're doing everything we're supposed to do. We're young,
talented and it's going to work out," Stevenson said. "Everybody
has a role. Everybody has a job to do on the court. We don't have a
superstar to get 50 shots or 20 shots."
The Jazz don't seem to be missing Karl Malone or John Stockton
Utah, which had 20 more rebounds than Minnesota in a win two
nights before, outrebounded Phoenix 48-35. After fourth-quarter
comebacks for wins over Portland and the Timberwolves, Utah didn't
need to rally this time.
The Jazz led 73-56 at the end of three and held off a late
"It's fun to see these guys have an opportunity to win a
ballgame because they did play hard," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.
Shawn Marion scored 20, Amare Stoudemire had 18 points and both
players pulled down nine rebounds to lead Phoenix. The Suns were
30-for-80 from the field and trailed by double digits much of the
Stephon Marbury was just 3-for-13 with nine points and six
assists for Phoenix, which opened 1-3 for the third straight
"It's really hard to score with the type of defense they were
playing against me," Marbury said. "I don't think we overlooked
them. They had more energy than us tonight and that was the key. We
couldn't match that energy."
The Suns scored the last nine points of the first half while
holding Utah scoreless for 2:45 to cut Utah's 15-point lead to
46-40 at halftime.
But the Jazz pulled away in the third and led by as many as 19
before Phoenix made one last push with a 9-2 run. Johnson made two
free throws with 1:41 left to cut Utah's lead to 85-77, but Arroyo
responded with a jumper from outside the lane.
After a miss by Phoenix, Harpring got a key offensive rebound
and added a layup to put the Jazz back up by 12 and end the
Utah outrebounded Phoenix 14-5 in the first quarter while
taking a 32-23 lead. ... Marion, who blocked layups by Harpring on
consecutive possessions, stopped a 13-1 Utah run with a layup
midway through the second quarter to pull Phoenix to 39-25. ...
Utah's Keon Clark got a cheer during a timeout when he posed for a
picture on the court with a young boy who came up to about the
6-foot-11 forward's knee. ... Phoenix rookie Leandro Barbosa did
not make the trip because of personal reasons.