COMMENTARY | It's not 27 in a row, but the Utah Jazz will take it.
Thanks to a 112-102 victory over the Portland Trailblazers on April 1, the team from Salt Lake City extended its consecutive win total to five. And with Kobe and Dirk nipping at their heels, the streak couldn't have come at a better time.
"When we were struggling earlier (in mid-March), I had a feeling that we would get out of it because the guys continued to work, they stayed together, they focused hard," said coach Tyrone Corbin.
I love Corbin's word choice -- especially the plural pronoun "they" -- because it's so true: Rather than rely on any one guy, everyone stepped up during the past five contests.
Check it out:
- Al Jefferson: 20.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 1.6 blocks
- Paul Millsap: 14.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 steals
- Gordon Hayward: 14.0 points, 5.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds
- Randy Foye: 14.2 points, 2.0 assists, 3.2 3s
- Mo Williams: 17.0 points, 6.6 assists, 2.2 3s
- Derrick Favors: 13.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 1.0 blocks
Also impressive is the way Utah has closed out games recently. Between Feb. 25 and March 24, the Jazz went 1-8 in contests that were within five points in the final five minutes. But since they returned from their trip to Texas, they've come through in the clutch.
On March 29, for instance, when the Jazz were down 92-86 with 3:48 remaining, they charged past the Blazers with a 19-3 run to win 105-95.
Then, two days later, the Jazz outscored the Brooklyn Nets 31-20 in the third quarter after trailing by two at the half and held on to win 116-107.
"We're just a team playing like we want to be in the playoffs," Jefferson said, "and that's the difference."
Speaking of the postseason, Utah is a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final spot. The Jazz have seven remaining games, including four against playoff-bound teams, while the Lakers have eight remaining games, including six against playoff-bound teams.
Randy Foye talks strategy (via Deseret News): "We've just got to take it one game at a time and understand that we control our destiny and that if we do what we have to do, we won't have to worry about what the Lakers are doing."
Jared Bray, a graduate of Brigham Young University's broadcast journalism program, has followed the Utah Jazz since 2008, when he covered the team as a sports correspondent for KBYU-TV's Daily News at Noon.
- Sports & Recreation
- Utah Jazz
- Portland Trailblazers
- Randy Foye