The Utah Jazz-Phoenix Suns series, a.k.a. The Series That Wouldn't Die, continues on a semi-serious basis tonight in the Salt Palace at 8 o'clock.
It seems that everywhere they turn, Phoenix and Utah are running into one another. Within the last year they met four times during the regular season (Phoenix won three), once in the exhibition season (Phoenix won), five times in the playoffs (Phoenix won three) and once during the summer league (Phoenix won - by 60 points).When the teams meet again in tonight's exhibition game the Jazz will be looking for their first pre-season win. Utah is 0-2, having dropped two straight to Chicago last weekend. Phoenix is 1-0.
This time it is only a minor skirmish, somewhere between last year's heated playoff series and the season opener in Tokyo in November. But one thing is certain: These teams are about as familiar as two teams can get.
Apparently Phoenix is intent on taking up where it left off. Last week the Suns opened exhibition play by scoring a team alltime high 186 points in a 186-123 win over Denver. The Nuggets, who have adopted the run-and-gun style of first-year Coach Paul Westhead, saw their high-octane system backfire when Phoenix put all the big points on the board. "We almost saw (a 200-point game) the other night," said Westhead. "I alway thought I'd probably be the first coach to have a 200-point game, but I never thought I'd be the one having it done to."
Suns rookies Cedric Ceballos and Negele Knight have been particularly promising. Ceballos went 12-for-12 from the field and scored 29 points in the win over Denver.
The Suns' biggest problem now could be the status of rookie draft choice Jayson Williams, who is holding out. "We haven't seen him in three weeks," said one Suns spokesman.
Backup center Andrew Lang will miss the game due to a long-term leg injury. Knight has a pulled hamstring and may not be ready, either.
Meahwhile, the Jazz must decide how to blend newly acquired Jeff Malone into the lineup, turn second-year man Blue Edwards into a consistent performer, put some weight on rookie forward Walter Palmer and cut four players from their roster.