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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.
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“We’ve seen this before,” Hayward said. “Hopefully we don’t go on a four- or five-game drought. It’s good that we get to play at home for a lot of these games. Denver’s going to be a big test.”

For more than a week, the Jazz have been pencils-down long before time was up. Each of their five wins has come by nine or more points. This is a team that seemed on the brink of disintegration following a blowout in Oklahoma City in March, and a subsequent home loss to the depleted Knicks.

With seven players headed for free agency, it’s easy to question what stake marquee players hold in this team. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, whose hundred-foot high likenesses currently wrap around EnergySolutions Arena, could both be gone next year. So could Mo Williams.

“We’ve known it all year long that the guys are whatever,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “But we’re a family now. ... It goes a long way to showing who you are.”

The Jazz beat the Trail Blazers, minus LaMarcus Aldridge, for the second time in four nights, relying on a blend of half-court precision and zippy transition offense. While the Trail Blazers filled out the stat sheet nicely, the Jazz were never really in danger of relinquishing the lead after a third quarter in which they went up by 13 thanks to Mo Williams’ sixth 3-pointer of the game.

Two nights after Randy Foye tied a team record with eight 3-pointers, Williams was 6-of-7 from the perimeter and finished with 20 points, 9 assists and just one turnover.

“It’s always good to play well,” Williams said. “You always sleep better, especially when you win. That’s the most important thing. Right now, it’s coming at a great time. We need to win more than ever.”

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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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