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Utah Jazz: Utah beats Portland to stay in playoff position
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson (25) takes a shot during warm-ups before the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013. The team today is expected to announce plans to update the arena.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) is double teamed by Utah Jazz point guard Jamaal Tinsley (6) and Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15), in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) tries to get past Portland Trail Blazers power forward Joel Freeland (19), in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15)] shoots over Portland Trail Blazers power forward Joel Freeland (19), in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) tries to get past Portland Trail Blazers power forward Joel Freeland (19), in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) dribbles the ball, as Utah Jazz point guard Jamaal Tinsley (6) defends, in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz point guard Mo Williams (5) tries to get past Portland Trail Blazers small forward Victor Claver (18), in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) brings the ball down court, in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers power forward Joel Freeland (19),  in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0), in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz point guard Mo Williams (5) tries to get past Portland Trail Blazers small forward Victor Claver (18), in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20) takes the ball inside, in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz point guard Mo Williams (5) tosses a pass backwards as Portland Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum (88) defends, in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) dribbles the ball, as Utah Jazz point guard Jamaal Tinsley (6) defends, in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) brings the ball down court, in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) tries to get past Portland Trail Blazers power forward Joel Freeland (19), in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) defends as Utah Jazz point guard Mo Williams (5) takes the ball inside, in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15) takes the ball inside,in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson (25) goes in for a slam dunk, in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz point guard Mo Williams (5) tosses a pass backwards as Portland Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum (88) defends, in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Trail Blazers power forward Joel Freeland (19),shoots over Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15), in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Wesley Matthews (2) puts pressure on Utah Jazz small forward DeMarre Carroll (3) in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20) knocks the ball out of the hands of Portland Trail Blazers center J.J. Hickson (21),  in NBA action, as the Jazz faced the Portland Trailblazers, at EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, April 1, 2013.

They put the brakes on one trend and reversed course. The season has become one, big chase-down block. The same Utah Jazz team that 10 days ago couldn’t stop losing, now can’t stop winning.

The countdown to a surprising playoff berth is now at seven games after the Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 112-102 in front of 18,336 at EnergySolutions Arena.

It was their fifth straight win after a four-game losing streak, and it came against a team that shot 58 percent from the field and made 13 3-pointers. But the Jazz (39-36) rarely gave away the ball, and when Mo Williams did release it, it was almost always a good thing.

Something has changed for a Jazz team that fell out of the playoff picture like victims of an NBA trap door. Derrick Favors distilled it down to one word.

“Playoffs,” he said. “We understand that we want to stay in the eighth spot, move up, whatever. Just playoffs.”

The Jazz moved a half game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for eighth. The Lakers (38-36) play Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks, who sit just a game back in the loss column.

Story continues below

“We struggled there for a little while but this team is just continuing to get better and better,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “Now we believe.”

All five Jazz starters reached double figures, led by 24 points and 10 rebounds from Jefferson, who earlier in the day was named the Western Conference Player of the Week. The last time the Jazz (39-36) won as many games in a row was the end of 2012, when they scored victories in their final five games to sneak into the playoffs.

Déjà vu, much?

“Same type of theme this year,” Gordon Hayward said.

The Jazz have spiked before this season. A frustrating year was sprinkled with eyebrow-raising victories: a buzzer-beater to beat San Antonio, a floater by Hayward to beat Miami, a blowout over Oklahoma City.

The Jazz, however, don’t want their season to be defined by short bursts of excellence. Losses Wednesday against Denver, Friday versus New Orleans or Sunday in Golden State could undercut the importance of their current streak.

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Utah beats Portland for fifth straight win, stays in playoff position.

At a glance

Storylines Jazz 112, Trail Blazers 102

Al Jefferson records 24 points and 10 rebounds.

» Mo Williams hits 6 of 7 3-pointers and finishes with 20 points.

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