The Utah Jazz snapped a three-game losing streak eight days ago when they edged the Suns in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz, losers of six of their past eight games, will hope for the same positive result Saturday night in Phoenix as they find themselves in the midst of another three-game streak.
This much is true: Utah will need to shoot a lot better to beat the Suns than it did while losing at Golden State 129-118 on Friday night, following losses to Detroit and the Los Angeles Clippers. Against the Warriors, the Jazz only made 11 of 45 3-pointers.
"For the most part, I felt we played the way we wanted to play," Jazz coach Will Hardy said. "When you shoot 25 percent from 3, it puts a lot of pressure on you."
Golden State jumped to a 37-23 lead in the first quarter, but the Jazz overcame the early deficit. Sustaining that momentum proved too difficult, however. Utah briefly took a one-point lead in the third quarter, but Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and company made the visitors pay for their off-night from 3-point range.
Against the Suns in last week's win, Lauri Markkanen made 15 of 18 shots for a career-high 38 points, and the Jazz shot 56 percent from the field overall and made 16 of 31 from long distance.
"It's just about us as a team staying focused on the right things. You can get caught up on yeah we lost the game. We played a good team and they played a good game and we did not shoot the ball very well," Hardy said after the Jazz-Warriors contest. "I believe in our group and our shooting."
Devin Booker had a huge outing against Utah -- 49 points -- in the 134-133 Jazz win on Nov. 18, and the Suns shot 52.1 percent from the field despite a 9-of-30 effort from 3-point range.
Phoenix beat Detroit 108-102 on Friday night despite shooting 24.1 percent beyond the arc. The Suns shot 48.3 percent overall, with Deandre Ayton leading the way by hitting 11 of 13 shots en route to 28 points.
"Although we didn't make the shots we wanted, the defensive intensity was still there," Ayton said. "That is what really put us in position to win the game."
Ayton also grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked two shots. He had a key putback bucket with 1:34 remaining vs. the Pistons to increase Phoenix's lead to five.
"He did a real good job on screens tonight, and it opened him up for baskets," teammate Cameron Payne said. "Sometimes, that's how it goes. You sacrifice your body and then you're the one who gets the reward."
Both teams will be without their veteran starting point guard. Chris Paul has been out seven games with a sore right heel, while the Jazz have struggled with Mike Conley (knee) sidelined during their latest losing streak.
Phoenix has replaced Utah atop the Western Conference standings since the two teams last met.
--Field Level Media