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Utah Jazz lose ground in loss to Thunder, fall out of playoff position
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz point guard Mo Williams (5) loses control of the ball as Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) follows. The Utah Jazz hosted Oklahoma City Thunder April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20) draws a foul against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) during a game April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson (25) battles Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha (2) during a game April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson (25) battles Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (5) during a game April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) slams a dunk over Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson (25) during a game in Salt Lake City on April 9, 2013.
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15) dunks against Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) during a game  April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20) and Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) battle during a game April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) and Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) clash during a game April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson (25) scores 15 points with 11 rebounds. Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80 April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) holsters his "shooters." Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80 April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15) and Utah Jazz point guard Jamaal Tinsley (6) pressure Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson (15). Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80 April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Oklahoma City Thunder's Derek Fisher (6) and Reggie Jackson (15) pressure Utah Jazz point guard Randy Foye (8). Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80 April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15) goes up with Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0). Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80 April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80 April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz Gordon Hayward (20) has his fans. Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80 April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz point guard Mo Williams (5) topples into Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Nick Collison (4). Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80 April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson (25) passes over Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35). Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80 April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
A fan of Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15). Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80 April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Utah Jazz point guard Mo Williams (5) scores 19 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80, April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) battles Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) for a rebound. Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80 April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,
(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) battles Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) for the rebound. Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 90-80 April 9, 2013, at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City,

With three games left for the Utah Jazz, it’s all about the numbers.

Not Oklahoma City’s shooting percentage Tuesday night, or the tally of Jazz turnovers. Not the number of Jazz players out of uniform, or those not at the arena. Not even the 10 points that separated the Jazz from the Thunder in a 90-80 loss in front of an announced crowd of 19,610 at EnergySolutions Arena.

How many ways can you count to four?

Any combination of Jazz wins and losses by the Los Angeles Lakers that add up to four over the final week of the regular season would mean the Jazz finish ahead of the Lakers, who beat New Orleans on Wednesday, and earn the Western Conference’s eighth and final seed to the playoffs.

The Jazz fell a half game behind the Lakers, who have four games left, two nights after moving back into playoff position with a surprising road win over the Golden State Warriors.

“We’re going to continue to play this back and forth game, I guess,” Paul Millsap said. “But when it’s all said and done hopefully we’ll be there. The schedule favors us, but we’ve still got to go out there and win these next three games.”

Story continues below

Do that — beat Minnesota twice, and close the regular season with a victory at Memphis on April 17 — and the Jazz (41-38) would need the Lakers (41-37) to lose only one. Go 2-1, pray for two Lakers losses.

“You do all of that in your head,” Tyrone Corbin said. “But ... you don’t know what the Lakers are going to do, you don’t know what Houston and Golden State’s going to do. We’re trying to focus on us and where we are and what we’re doing.”

Whether the Jazz, who have won seven of their last nine games, do or don’t make the playoffs remains the last relevant question before they enter an offseason loaded with intrigue. On Tuesday, the Jazz could have done a lot to push that offseason into May.

But with Oklahoma City within range of the conference’s top seed — and a potential first-round matchup with Utah — the Jazz turned in an impressive effort on one side of the ball that they couldn’t match on the other.

On a night the Jazz announced second-year center Enes Kanter would undergo season-ending shoulder surgery Wednesday, Alec Burks missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle and Marvin Williams went home with the flu, the Jazz could have used some good news.

It manifested itself in this: A defensive performance that caused the Thunder to miss nearly 50 shots and shoot 39.5 percent from the field. It was contradicted by their own abhorrent shooting night of 39.2 percent. It made for a plodding, drawn-out affair akin to a dramatic foreign film.

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At a glance

Highlights

O The Jazz fall a half game behind the Lakers for eighth place with three games remaining in the regular season

» Mo Williams leads the Jazz with 19 points and 6 assists, but commits 5 turnovers.

Western Conference playoff race

W L GB

5. Memphis 53 25 41/2

6. Golden State 45 33 121/2

7. Houston 44 34 131/2

W L GB

8. L.A. Lakers 41 37 161/2

9. Utah 41 38 17

10. Dallas 38 39 19


 
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