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Utah Jazz keeping quiet about playoff race

By Bill Oram

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Mar 26 2013 03:28PM
Updated Mar 27, 2013 12:00AM

The Utah Jazz can’t look up without being reminded of where they sit in the playoff race. The standings are literally right in front of them, on a whiteboard in the team’s locker room at EnergySolutions Arena.

And while the only conversation among pundits and fans right now seems to be whether the Jazz will or won’t, can or should, sneak into the postseason for the second straight year, there has been relatively little chatter about it among the Jazz players.

"Everybody pretty much knows it mentally," Derrick Favors said. "Just don’t talk about it in the locker room — everybody knows that we need to come out there and have a good game and be back in the playoff race."

The Jazz on Monday walloped the Philadelphia 76ers 107-91, snapping their second four-game losing streak in their last 12 games.

"We’ll continue to fight as long as we have fight in us," coach Tyrone Corbin said.

Entering Tuesday, the Jazz were once again a single game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 8 seed. While the Jazz have faltered, the Lakers haven’t exactly seized the opportunity. Going into Wednesday’s game in Minnesota, they have lost three straight.

Phoenix rise?

The Jazz’s next opponent knows something about long losing streaks. The Phoenix Suns (23-48) have endured plenty of them.

Eight times this year, the Suns have lost at least three consecutive games — including a current streak that has seen them lose games to the Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves and Brooklyn Nets. In fact, the Jazz might need to send the Suns a fruit basket. The team’s only two wins in their last 11 games have been against the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, the teams the Jazz are jockeying with for playoff seeds.

Corbin said the Jazz "can’t look at anybody’s record."

"We can’t look at what’s going on with them," he said. "We’ve got to make sure we understand what we have to do to be effective."

Defensive Favors

The Jazz’s best defensive big man is averaging just more than 22 minutes per game, but he’s been making the most of his time on the defensive end.

Favors has blocked three or more shots in seven of the Jazz’s last 11 games. The streak started with four blocks on March 6 in Cleveland. Two nights later, he rejected a season-high six shots.

Favors leads the Jazz and is 13th in the NBA with 1.65 blocks per game. He is seventh in blocks per 48 minutes, with 3.51.

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