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Utah Jazz get rare road win, move into tie for final playoff spot

Published March 30, 2013 2:50 pm

NBA • Utah moves into a tie with L.A. Lakers for final spot in playoffs.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Portland, Ore. • The chatter was back. For more than a month, the Utah Jazz locker room had been an itinerant carnival of sorrow. This team with playoff aspirations had not won on the road since Feb. 13. They traversed the country, distributing victories like third-graders sharing Valentine's Day chocolates, always enough for the whole class.

But the Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 105-95 on Friday, halting a nine-game road losing streak and catapulting them back into a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for eighth place in the Western Conference. Back in playoff position, the Jazz (37-36) breathed a sigh of relief, and out came rich barbs, and a locker room so lively it felt like someone finally hit the play button after six weeks on pause.

"Winning does that," Mo Williams said. "Winning puts you in a good mood, especially when you care. Top to bottom, people care here, when you lose you feel down. It's not so jolly, it's not so loose."

Earlier in the evening, Williams was far from happy. The 30-year-old point guard, in his second stint with the Jazz, was benched by coach Tyrone Corbin in the second quarter. In the final minutes of the game, Williams carried the Jazz to the win, scoring 14 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter and spearheading a 25-6 run in the final six minutes.

"You get pissed off," Williams said. "Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, you come out and be aggressive."

Intended or not, Corbin was pleased with the result.

"Great for him," he said of Williams. "I thought he did a great job in the second half. He didn't play his best half the first half. He hung in there."

The Jazz dug themselves out of several holes against a Trail Blazers team that played without All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

The Jazz rallied from deficits of nine, 14 and, in the fourth quarter, nine. The last quarter was where since the All-Star break the Jazz could be counted on to wilt.

In a stage production of, "Utah Jazz: 2012-13," this is where the director might have yelled, "Cut! Cut! You're doing it all wrong!"

Except the Jazz were doing it right. They relied almost exclusively on the pick and roll, with Williams dumping the ball to Paul Millsap, who finished with 25 points, or getting into the paint and slipping it to Al Jefferson, who finished with 22 points.

When the Blazers got wise, Williams began doing the damage himself.

"Mo was the last option," Jefferson said, "and he took us on home."

While Williams carried the offense, the Jazz buckled down defensively.

After former Jazz guard Wesley Matthews made a layup with 3:49 left, putting Portland up 92-90, the Trail Blazers did not score a field goal until Damian Lillard scored with 27 seconds left. The Jazz made defensive stops on seven straight possessions and forced Portland into six fourth-quarter turnovers after it had committed just 10 in the first three periods.

"We won this game on the defensive end," Jefferson said. "And when you do that, that's something to be happy about, that shows that we can do it."

With nine games left, the Jazz schedule shapes up favorably. Where the Jazz previously were left for dead in the playoff chase, they have new life.

"There are a lot of games left," Jefferson said. "We're in it right now, but the goal is at the end of these nine games to still be in [the eighth spot] or in at seven."

It's all on the table for the Jazz now. They got on an airplane late Friday night with something they could be proud of.

"I don't care if they're playing ... upset or whatever," Corbin said. "They did a great job of playing basketball." —

Jazz 105, Trail Blazers 95

O The Jazz trail by as much as 14 points but rally to win on the road for the first time since Feb. 13.

• The Jazz, who own the tiebreaker over the Lakers, moved into an tie for the No. 8 seed with Los Angeles. —

Nets at Jazz

O At EnergySolutions Arena

Tipoff • Saturday, 7 p.m.

TV • ROOT Sports. Radio • 1280 AM, 97.5 FM

Season series • Jazz 1-0

Record • Utah 37-36, Brooklyn 42-29

About the Jazz • The Jazz beat the Nets 92-90 on Dec. 18 at Barclays Center. Mo Williams led the Jazz with 19 points. ... The Jazz have won six of their last seven games at home. ... Utah beat Portland 105-95 on Friday, earning their first road win since Feb. 13 in Minnesota.

About the Nets • All-Star center Brook Lopez leads the Nets with 19.2 points per game. ... The Nets lost 109-87 in Denver Friday night. ... Of 14 games in March, Reggie Evans has recorded 10 or more rebounds 13 times. He's exceeded 20 in four of those games. Jazz 105, Blazers 95

FG FT Reb

Utah Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Hayward 40:02 4-8 0-0 1-3 8 1 10

Millsap 31:54 10-14 5-6 5-10 2 5 25

Jefferson 37:13 11-21 0-0 2-8 2 3 22

M Wllms 29:25 10-19 6-6 2-5 5 3 28

Foye 29:06 1-5 3-3 0-1 1 3 5

Favors 26:41 6-8 1-3 2-10 2 6 13

MaWllms 12:12 0-3 0-0 0-1 0 1 0

Burks 14:33 1-6 0-0 1-3 1 0 2

Tinsley 16:18 0-2 0-0 0-1 4 1 0

Evans 2:37 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 240:01 43-86 15-18 13-42 25 23 105

Percentages: FG .500, FT .833. 3-Point Goals: 4-19, .211 (M. Williams 2-5, Hayward 2-6, Ma.Williams 0-1, Burks 0-2, Tinsley 0-2, Foye 0-3). Team Rebounds: 5. Team Turnovers: 10 (14 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Jefferson 2, Foye, Hayward). Turnovers: 10 (Millsap 3, Hayward 2, M. Williams 2, Favors, Jefferson, Tinsley). Steals: 12 (Jefferson 4, Hayward 3, Ma.Williams 2, Foye, Tinsley, M. Williams). Technical Fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

Portland Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Batum 40:16 4-6 6-7 0-2 4 4 17

Hickson 36:06 8-11 1-4 2-14 2 0 17

Leonard 32:26 5-11 2-2 1-3 1 4 12

Lillard 39:31 7-16 10-14 0-2 7 3 24

Matthws 37:41 3-10 4-4 0-5 2 2 12

Freeland 13:39 0-2 0-0 2-4 0 0 0

Maynor 21:17 3-5 0-0 0-1 5 2 7

Claver 18:05 3-6 0-1 1-4 1 3 6

Babbitt 1:00 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 240:01 33-67 23-32 6-35 22 18 95

Percentages: FG .493, FT .719. 3-Point Goals: 6-13, .462 (Batum 3-4, Matthews 2-4, Maynor 1-1, Lillard 0-1, Claver 0-3). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 16 (24 PTS). Blocked Shots: 3 (Claver 2, Batum). Turnovers: 16 (Batum 4, Leonard 3, Hickson 2, Lillard 2, Matthews 2, Maynor 2, Freeland). Steals: 3 (Claver, Lillard, Matthews). Technical Fouls: None.

Utah 22 20 32 31 — 105

Portland 30 22 23 20 — 95

Attendance • 19,527

Time • 2:18.

Officials • Derrick Stafford, Kevin Scott, Zach Zarba.