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