The Utah Jazz have qualified for the playoffs in each of the past 20 seasons. They’re not willing to let that streak die.
The Jazz will try to continue their push for a spot in the postseason when they host the Memphis Grizzlies.
“I think this playoff race is helping our team improve,” Andrei Kirilenko said. “Our team is very young and we’ve been getting tired, but we just have to play through it.”
With six playoff spots already locked up in the West, four teams are fighting for the final two berths. The Portland Trail Blazers are a half-game behind Utah and Denver.
The Grizzlies and Nuggets both have five games remaining in the regular season, while the Blazers have six.
The Grizzlies, who have already clinched the first playoff berth in franchise history, are vying for their first 50-win season.
Memphis failed in its first attempt at achieving that goal, falling to the Minnesota Timberwolves 90-82 on Sunday.
James Posey scored 19 points, and Pau Gasol added 15 for the Grizzlies, who had their seven-game winning streak snapped. The Grizzlies shot just 38.7 percent from the field after shooting at least 50 percent in their previous three games.
They were also outrebounded 54-40 and allowed the Timberwolves to grab 19 offensive boards.
“This was the first time we’ve been hammered on the boards for quite a while,” Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown said. “It was a good education for us, a really good education.”
The Jazz and Grizzlies were originally scheduled to play on Jan. 7, but the game was postponed when Memphis could not make it into Salt Lake City because severe weather conditions prevented it from flying out of Portland.