Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 1)

Series starts 10/17

Game 1: Monday, October 17th

Suns 106

(2-1, 2-0 away)

Jazz 95

(1-2, 0-1 home)

    7:00 PM ET, October 17, 2005

    EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHX 26 25 35 20106
    UTAH 26 23 29 1795

    Bell scores 20 for Suns, wins in return to Utah

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Raja Bell felt good being back at the Delta Center, especially running and shooting in a Phoenix Suns uniform.

    "The pace of the game is different than I'm used to with the Jazz but I'm getting used to it and it's a fun way to play," said Bell, who had 20 points against his former team as the Suns beat the Utah Jazz 106-95 in a preseason game Monday night.

    Bell played the last two seasons in Utah before signing with Phoenix as a free agent in the offseason.

    He made 8-of-15 shots, including four 3-pointers after a slow start. After the nerves got out, it got a little fiery out there and that's when it felt good, Bell said.

    Shawn Marion added 19 points and 10 rebounds and Kurt Thomas had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix (2-1).

    Bell's five points sparked an 8-2 run to make it 94-83 after Utah (1-2) trimmed the Suns lead to 86-81 early in the fourth quarter. The Jazz never threatened after that, as their rookies and free agent hopefuls played most of the fourth quarter and the offense sputtered.

    "Raja is a great acquisition for us after the loss of Joe Johnson. We really needed someone to fill that void. We re lucky to have him," said Steve Nash, who had eight points and eight assists.

    Shawn Marion added 19 points and 10 rebounds and Kurt Thomas had 15 points and 11 rebounds. James Jones, the Suns leading scorer in the preseason, had 18.

    Playing with a mask to shield the nose he broke in the summer with the Russian National Team, Andrei Kirilenko led the Jazz with 18 points. Rookies Robert Whaley and Andre Owens, along with Kris Humphries, each added 11 points. Rookie Deron Williams, the No. 3 draft pick, started but missed all three of his field goal attempts in 8 minutes of play.

    Bell, a captain on last year's Jazz team, received mostly cheers during introductions. He often displayed frustration with his Jazz teammates during their losing 2004-05 losing campaign and accused some of not playing hard all the time.

    "I started talking a little bit [to the Jazz players]. It's friendly though. It's all in the game," Bell said.

    Monday he was all smiles with his Phoenix teammates, exchanging lots of high-fives and joking with other Suns on the bench.

    "Raja is a positive influence whether he plays well or not. I'll never have a beef with him," Phoenix coach Mike D Antoni said.

    The Jazz played without Carlos Boozer (strained left hamstring) and Matt Harpring (knee rehabilitation).

    Nash got a warm cheer when he went across the court during the fourth quarter change to check on a boy who got hit in the face by an errant pass.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press