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Al Jefferson set a career-high with 40 points to lead Utah to a 107-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
After seven wins in their previous nine games, the Jazz started slowly against Minnesota.
They converted only three of their first 11 possessions and trailed, 12-11, midway through the first quarter.
Utah finally got going offensively and Jefferson scored seven points during a 14-4 run that gave the Jazz a 25-16 lead.
It’s 27-22 in the closing seconds when Gordon Hayward banked in a 38-foot three-pointer at the buzzer, bumping Utah’s lead to eight.
In the second quarter, however, the Jazz could not stop J.J. Barea. He scored 12 points in 3:05 and the Timberwolves tie the game, 36-36.
The Jazz followed by converting seven of their next eight possessions, but they could not shake loose.
In fact, Minnesota took a 52-51 lead on Ricky Rubio’s late three-point play and Andrei Kirilenko’s followed with a dunk that gave the Timberwolves their one-point halftime advantage.
In the third quarter, Minnesota hit its first four shots and eventually built a 71-64 lead.
It was 75-68 with four minutes left before Utah closed with a 14-6 run. Jefferson scored eight points as the Jazz took an 82-81 lead.
With 10 minutes left, the game was tied, 88-88. In the next five minutes, however, Jefferson scored six points, Randy Foye buried a three-pointer and Minnesota converted only one of 10 possessions.
Utah opened a 97-90 lead with 5:19 remaining and the Jazz held on to stay in the Western Conference playoff race.