- Sports & Recreation
- Mo Williams
- Al Jefferson
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By Kerry Eggers, The Sports Xchange March 30, 2013 1:40 AM
PORTLAND -- Trailing by nine points with less than eight minutes to play, Utah appeared headed to its 10th consecutive road loss. Then the Jazz stormed back, putting together a 21-3 run that keyed 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 Millsap had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Al Jefferson contributed 22 points and eight boards for the winners, who closed the game by outscoring the Trail Blazers 25-6 down the stretch. "The guys really hung in there," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "The aggressive play we had on the defensive end down the stretch set the tone for us." Damian Lillard scored 24 points and handed out seven assists and JJ Hickson collected 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Blazers (33-39), who had six of their 16 turnovers in the fourth quarter. "We played a good game until the turnovers caught up with us in the fourth quarter," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "We shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers." 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. "We were in a pretty good flow until we turned the ball over on five of eight possessions, and they took advantage of it," Lillard said. "They chopped our lead down real quick." Williams scored 10 points in the third quarter and 16 in the fourth period after scoring two points on 1-for-5 shooting in the first half. "Mo got it going," Jefferson said, "and the pick-and-rolls were working for everybody the second half." 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. 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: Utah scored 63 points in the second half -- 32 in the third quarter, 31 in the fourth. ... Jefferson went scoreless the final 19 minutes of the game. ... Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, who injured an ankle in Wednesday's loss to Brooklyn, missed the game and will not accompany the team on a two-game trip with stops at Golden State on Saturday and Utah on Monday. Rookie Meyers Leonard had 12 points and three rebounds in his third start of the season, with Hickson moving from center to power forward. ... Hickson notched his 39th double-double, which ranks him fifth in the league in that category. ... In Portland's first two games with Utah -- a 1-1 split -- Lillard outscored Utah's starting point guard, Jamaal Tinsley, 49-6. Williams much a much more formidable foe for the Blazer rookie Friday night, with five rebounds and five assists to go with his 28 points. ... Portland has made 599 3-pointers this season, breaking the franchise record of 596 set in 2008-09.