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Win over Suns keeps Utah Jazz in playoff chase
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Randy Foye had not slept in a day. He had not eaten. An illness kept him from participating in Wednesday morning's shootaround. By 11 p.m., the Utah Jazz guard didn't feel much better. But in between, he had played 25 minutes in an NBA game, and contributed 12 points in the Jazz's 103-88 win over the Phoenix Suns.

"If this was any other time," he said. "I wouldn't have been able to play."

Then he looked to his right, where on the wall of the Jazz locker room a whiteboard tracks the Western Conference standings.

"You see it," Foye said.

Everyone does. And inside the Jazz locker room, they feel it. The win over the Suns (23-49) allowed the Jazz (36-36) to stay within a game of the Los Angeles Lakers for eighth in the Western Conference and ½ a game ahead of the Dallas Mavericks.

With 10 games remaining, the Jazz will be in an even better position if they can win Friday in Portland.

Gordon Hayward and Al Jefferson led the Jazz with 25 points apiece, while Derrick Favors added nine points and 13 rebounds off the bench.

The balanced performance left everyone in good spirits. Even Enes Kanter, who dislocated his shoulder in the first half and left the arena in a sling, was smiling and joking. But the jocularity of the locker room belied the intense focus the Jazz have on the teams around them in the standings.

"That's our spot that we're trying to get," point guard Mo Williams said. "So yeah, we've got our eye on them."

The Jazz won't need binoculars thanks to an impressive run to open the fourth quarter in which theyoutscored Phoenix 17-2. Jefferson made a jump shot with 10:14 left to put the Jazz up 82-71 and was fouled by Jermaine O'Neal. He turned and shook violently, bellowing in concert with the 16,949 on hand at EnergySolutions Arena.

Three possessions later, Alec Burks missed a 3-pointer, but Marvin Williams tapped out the offensive rebound to Jefferson, who subsequently made a 12-foot jumper.

"If you can ever sneak in there and get another offensive possession," Williams said, "or you dive on the floor for a loose ball, things like that will put you over the top."

By the time the run was complete, the Jazz led 92-73, and a win against a short-handed team that wasn't that good to start with was all but assured. The Suns rested starting point guard and leading scorer Goran Dragic.

While Suns coach Lindsey Hunter said the veteran point guard was in need of a rest, Dragic disagreed. There may have been a more calculating reason for the move: The Suns will receive a lottery pick from the Lakers if Los Angeles fails to reach the playoffs.

Did both teams want the Jazz to win? It didn't quite look like it in the third quarter, when the Suns cut a 12-point deficit to four on a 3-pointer by Wesley Johnson right before the fourth quarter.

But then the fourth happened.

"I thought we understood they were hanging around," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They made a run there at the end of the third quarter — we needed to have a run to get some space."

The start of the fourth quarter mirrored the first quarter when, for the second straight game, the Jazz scored on their first six possessions.

The Jazz won consecutive games for the first time since February, when they capped a three-game winning streak with a victory over the Golden State Warriors on Feb. 19. That streak also included the Jazz's last road win, on Feb. 13 at Minnesota.

Muffling the excitement of the victory, however, was the injury to Kanter. He went down with 10:23 left in the second quarter when he and Phoenix's Hamed Haddadi both dove for a loose ball. Jump ball was called, and when Kanter finally rose, his left shoulder was clearly out of place. The team announced the shoulder was dislocated and that the second-year center will undergo an MRI on Thursday.

"I just fell on the ground and the other guy just fell on my arm," Kanter said. "It's disconnected, but I'm all right."

boram@sltrib.com

Jazz 103, Suns 88

O The Jazz win consecutive games for the first time since February.

• A Lakers win in Minnesota keeps the Jazz one game out of eighth place.

• Gordon Hayward scores 25 points, his sixth 20-plus game in 17 back from a right shoulder injury. Jazz 103, Suns 88

FG FT Reb

Phoenix Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Tucker 22:08 1-4 2-2 2-6 3 2 4

MrkMris 35:18 4-8 2-3 1-6 3 1 10

Scola 33:20 8-18 4-5 3-7 1 4 20

Marshall 34:01 2-7 3-5 0-3 13 2 7

Johnson 40:13 8-16 2-2 0-1 1 2 22

Dudley 25:52 4-7 0-0 1-2 1 1 10

Haddadi 6:05 0-0 0-0 0-2 2 3 0

Garrett 13:59 4-5 0-0 0-1 1 1 8

O'Neal 15:56 1-7 1-2 1-4 1 2 3

Beasley 5:21 1-2 0-0 0-2 1 0 2

Brown 7:47 1-2 0-0 0-2 0 0 2

Totals 240:00 34-76 14-19 8-36 27 18 88

Percentages: FG .447, FT .737. 3-Point Goals: 6-16, .375 (Johnson 4-7, Dudley 2-3, Scola 0-1, Tucker 0-1, Marshall 0-2, Mark.Morris 0-2). Team Rebounds: 5. Team Turnovers: 17 (30 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Mark.Morris 2, O'Neal, Scola). Turnovers: 17 (Marshall 5, Haddadi 2, O'Neal 2, Tucker 2, Beasley, Brown, Dudley, Johnson, Mark.Morris, Scola). Steals: 7 (Johnson 3, Mark.Morris 2, Dudley, Marshall). Technical Fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

Utah Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Hayward 41:35 9-15 4-5 1-5 6 0 25

Millsap 23:23 6-9 0-0 1-4 2 2 12

Jefferson 42:21 12-23 1-1 3-9 1 3 25

M Wllms 29:11 3-9 2-2 1-3 10 2 8

Foye 25:38 5-6 0-0 0-3 3 4 12

Favors 24:37 4-7 1-2 4-13 1 4 9

Tinsley 4:54 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 2 0

Kanter 3:29 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 0 0

MaWlms 22:22 2-6 1-1 0-4 3 0 5

Burks 20:20 2-6 0-2 0-2 2 0 5

Evans 2:10 1-3 0-0 2-2 0 0 2

Totals 240:00 44-85 9-13 12-46 30 17 103

Percentages: FG .518, FT .692. 3-Point Goals: 6-15, .400 (Hayward 3-6, Foye 2-2, Burks 1-2, Ma.Williams 0-2, M. Williams 0-3). Team Rebounds: 5. Team Turnovers: 16 (16 PTS). Blocked Shots: 6 (Favors 2, Jefferson 2, Millsap, Ma.Williams). Turnovers: 16 (Favors 5, M. Williams 3, Hayward 2, Jefferson 2, Burks, Foye, Kanter, Millsap). Steals: 10 (Favors 2, Foye 2, Jefferson 2, Millsap 2, Burks, M. Williams). Technical Fouls: None.

Phoenix 23 21 27 17 — 88

Utah 34 19 22 28 — 103

Attendance • 16,949

Time • 2:01.

Officials • Dan Crawford, John Goble, Nick Buchert.

Phoenix falls to Utah, which has playoff spot in its sights.
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