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By Kerry Eggers, The Sports Xchange March 30, 2013 12:50 AM
PORTLAND -- Utah closed the game with a 25-6 run in a come-from-behind 105-95 victory over Portland Friday night at the Rose Garden. Mo Williams scored 26 of his game-high 28 points in the second half for the Jazz (37-36), who moved into a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Paul Milsap had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Al Jefferson put up 22 points and eight boards for the winners, who snapped a nine-game losing streak on the road. Damian Lillard scored 24 points and handed out seven assists and JJ Hickson collected 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Trail Blazers (33-39). Utah led 80-77 early in the fourth quarter, but the Blazers went on a 12-0 run to seize an 89-80 advantage with 7:42 to play. The Jazz, led by Williams, responded with a 21-3 surge to go in front 101-92 with 45 seconds remaining. Portland jumped on top 25-16 and took a 30-22 lead on Wesley Matthews' 35-foot buzzer-beating heave at the end of the first quarter. Utah came back to tie the score at 40-40, but Nicolas Batum knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to key a 12-0 run for a 52-40 advantage. The Blazers had a 52-42 edge going into intermission, Hickson leading the way with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the half. Utah's Jefferson had 16 points and five boards before the break. Portland was in front 56-44 before the Jazz, with Jefferson and Gordon Hayward leading the way, went on a 23-8 run to go ahead 67-64 with three-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter. But Lillard, who scored 13 points in the quarter, propelled the Blazers back in front 75-74 entering the final period. NOTES: Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, who injured an ankle in Wednesday's loss to Brooklyn, missed Friday's game. Rookie center Meyers Leonard made his third start of the season, with Hickson moving from center to power forward. "Everybody has to do a little bit more, both big guys and perimeter guys," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "It will affect our rebounding. (Aldridge) is our best interior defender. When you miss a player of his caliber, there is a little bit of a bump in energy. Over the long haul, it's hard to make up for the loss of a player that good. But in the short term, you have the ability to rise to the occasion." ... Stotts said he doesn't expect Aldridge to go on a two-game trip that includes stops at Golden State on Saturday and Utah on Monday, though a decision won't be reached until after tonight's game. ... Stotts said the Blazers have to shore up things on the boards. Brooklyn outrebounded them 54-40 in a 111-93 win, including 21-3 in the game's first 14 minutes. With Aldridge out, "I'm more concerned about defense than the effect on the offense," Stotts said. "We'll manage to score some points. Defensive rebounding is our biggest concern, especially after the Brooklyn game." ... "You have to have confidence and feel you can win in any building," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said before the game. "When things happen to us on the road, we haven't fought through it as well as we've done at home. We need to get a win to get that confident feeling back."