The Phoenix Suns could sit atop the Western Conference after Friday night, and it’ll be a little easier for them to achieve against a shorthanded Utah Jazz team.
The Jazz will be without their starting backcourt. Shooting guard Donovan Mitchell hasn’t played since April 16 due to a right ankle sprain while point guard Mike Conley will miss his second straight game because of a hamstring injury.
In the teams’ second meeting earlier this month, Mitchell scored a game-high 41 points. Conley struggled, shooting 5-of-16 from the field. The Suns took that game 117-113 in overtime.
Without those two players on Wednesday in Sacramento, the Jazz crushed the Kings 154-105. Utah hit 24 three-pointers, with eight players getting in double figures. In the place of Mitchell and Conley in the lineup were guard Joe Ingles and forward Georges Niang.
Swingman Royce O’Neale is questionable (right wrist soreness) after playing 23 minutes in that game.
As for the Suns, there was good news on their injury report, with backup center Dario Saric being upgraded to probable. Saric has missed the last three games to manage his left ankle. Jae Crowder (right ankle sprain) is questionable again after holding that label for Wednesday’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers that he did not play in.
The Suns will enter play on Friday with a record of 44-18, one game back of Utah’s 45-17 mark. A Phoenix win would have both teams with the same win-loss, and the Suns own the tiebreaker.