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Utah Jazz: After tough road trip, Jazz find winning combination

Published March 26, 2013 10:14 am

Back home after a winless road trip, Utah trades moral victories for a real one.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Ninety seconds into the Jazz's 107-91 win over Philadelphia, Doug Collins had seen enough. The 76ers coach watched the Jazz score on their first three possessions and he called a timeout.

Three minutes later, with the Jazz up 16-6, he subbed out all of his starters.

Yes, Monday was a different kind of night for the Utah Jazz.

"Everything felt great," Al Jefferson said.

And the Jazz pointed to a stretch of upgraded defense and energy last week in Texas. In short, they're trying to become the first team in history that needed a four-game losing streak to make the playoffs.

The Jazz dropped three straight games on a Texas road swing, including an overtime loss in San Antonio after which Tyrone Corbin praised their effort. However, he warned, if that was not matched going forward, any positives from the defeat would be negated.

Two games later, they appear to have learned some things.

"I feel as though that was the best game that we've played," Foye said, "that San Antonio game. We were into guys and we weren't giving an ounce [to them]. It was like, 'You have to run through us to get what you want.' We gave them a good fight. We lost the game, but we felt good about it."

So the question is, can you really squeeze momentum out of a road trip that didn't yield a single win?

"You want to," Mo Williams said. "You can. But at the end of the day, at this point of the season, it's about wins and losses."

After a week of moral victories, the Jazz got a real one.

The victory was the mix of increased intensity from the Jazz and a marginal opponent, albeit it one they lost to in November. The Jazz went on runs of 10-0, 11-0 and 13-0 before halftime.

But with 11 games remaining and the Jazz just one game out of eighth place — despite a month-long swan dive — trouncing the Sixers allowed the Jazz to slather on all kinds of feel-good.

"We didn't play down to our competition or down to their record or anything," Gordon Hayward said. "So that's a good sign. That being said we've got to bring the same energy the next night that we play, because we need that one, too."

Randy Foye broke free of a slump to lead the Jazz with 17 points. Eleven different players scored for the Jazz, seven of them in double figures. Derrick Favors recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He also added three blocks, a total he has reached in six of his last 10 games.

"We're going to need this kind of effort the rest of the way," Corbin said.

With 7 of the last 11 games scheduled to be at home, the Jazz gave themselves hope on Monday that they can piece together a run to the playoffs.

"We got the win," Al Jefferson said. "We knew we needed it. We knew coming back home, this was the time to do it."

The road has been to the Jazz what casinos are to the rest of the population: It's where they go to lose badly. But this latest rendition gave the Jazz reason to think more positive results could be in the cards.

"They were tough losses," Favors said. "But we played good in San Antonio, played good in Dallas. Just picked up momentum. Picked up the energy and came home and got a win."

boram@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz —

Storylines Making it look easy

R The Jazz play 7 of their final 11 games at EnergySolutions Arena.

• Utah is 4-12 in its last 16 games, but has won three of its last four.

• Randy Foye leads the Jazz with 17 points and seven players reach double figures.