The Utah Jazz can’t look up without being reminded of where they sit in the playoff race. The standings are literally right in front of them, on a whiteboard in the team’s locker room at EnergySolutions Arena.
And while the only conversation among pundits and fans right now seems to be whether the Jazz will or won’t, can or should, sneak into the postseason for the second straight year, there has been relatively little chatter about it among the Jazz players.
Jazz vs. Suns
O At EnergySolutions Arena
Tipoff » 7 p.m. TV » ROOT Radio » 1280 AM, 1600 AM, 97.5 FM
Records » Jazz 35-36; Suns 23-48
Season series » Jazz lead 2-1 Last meeting » Jazz 87, Suns 80 (Jan. 4)
About the Jazz » They are locked in a three-team battle with the Lakers and Mavericks for the Western Conference’s final playoff berth. ... They are 3-8 in their last 11 games against Phoenix, going back to 2010. ... In his past three games, G Randy Foye averages 12.3 points on 13-for-23 shooting from 3-point range.
About the Suns » They have lost seven of their last eight games, including three in a row. ... They have lost four straight on the road by an average of 18.5 points. ... They have won four of their last six games in Utah. ... They are led by G Goran Dragic (14.4 ppg) and F Luis Scola (12.2 ppg).
"Everybody pretty much knows it mentally," Derrick Favors said. "Just don’t talk about it in the locker room — everybody knows that we need to come out there and have a good game and be back in the playoff race."
The Jazz on Monday walloped the Philadelphia 76ers 107-91, snapping their second four-game losing streak in their last 12 games.
"We’ll continue to fight as long as we have fight in us," coach Tyrone Corbin said.
Entering Tuesday, the Jazz were once again a single game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 8 seed. While the Jazz have faltered, the Lakers haven’t exactly seized the opportunity. Going into Wednesday’s game in Minnesota, they have lost three straight.
The Jazz’s next opponent knows something about long losing streaks. The Phoenix Suns (23-48) have endured plenty of them.
Eight times this year, the Suns have lost at least three consecutive games — including a current streak that has seen them lose games to the Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves and Brooklyn Nets. In fact, the Jazz might need to send the Suns a fruit basket. The team’s only two wins in their last 11 games have been against the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, the teams the Jazz are jockeying with for playoff seeds.
Corbin said the Jazz "can’t look at anybody’s record."
"We can’t look at what’s going on with them," he said. "We’ve got to make sure we understand what we have to do to be effective."
The Jazz’s best defensive big man is averaging just more than 22 minutes per game, but he’s been making the most of his time on the defensive end.
Favors has blocked three or more shots in seven of the Jazz’s last 11 games. The streak started with four blocks on March 6 in Cleveland. Two nights later, he rejected a season-high six shots.
Favors leads the Jazz and is 13th in the NBA with 1.65 blocks per game. He is seventh in blocks per 48 minutes, with 3.51.
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