Kragthorpe: Quick analysis of Jazz 112, Blazers 102
Quick analysis of the Jazz's 112-102 victory over Portland on Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena:
What happened: Point guard Mo Williams made six 3-pointers in the first three quarters and the Jazz won their fifth straight game, marking the team's longest streak of the season.
What went right: The outcome never was in doubt, thanks to the Jazz's fast start and offensive efficiency. Williams looked a lot like teammate Randy Foye did Saturday against Brooklyn, although Williams' shooting display did not come in a spurt like the remarkable third quarter that highlighted Foye's night of eight 3-pointers. Al Jefferson posted 24 points and 10 rebounds before taking the fourth quarter off, as Williams did.
What went wrong: The Jazz lost nearly all of the 14-point lead they built in the first half, and they allowed Portland to shoot 58.2 percent from the field. Former Jazz guard Wesley Matthews scored 23 points for the Trail Blazers, who fell behind by 19 in the fourth quarter before making the final score respectable.
What it means: The Jazz (39-36) have moved a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and they own the tiebreaker. So with eight games remaining (to the Jazz's seven), the Lakers would have to win two more games than the Jazz the rest of the way. Tuesday, the Lakers host Dallas (36-37).
What's next: With the schedule in a consistent rhythm this month, the Jazz host Denver on Wednesday and New Orleans on Friday, then visit Golden State on Sunday. Denver is battling for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, so every game matters to the Nuggets.
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