(Sports Network) - The Utah Jazz have been playing solid basketball the past
week with five straight wins and look to stay in postseason contention
Wednesday versus the Denver Nuggets.
The Jazz are even with the idle Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final
playoff spot in the Western Conference and have won the first two tests on
this four-game homestand. After defeating Brooklyn on Saturday to kick off the
stand, Utah posted a 112-102 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.
Al Jefferson had 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Mo Williams delivered 20 for
the Jazz, who made 54 percent of their shots and had six players score in
double figures. Derrick Favors (18 pts), Paul Millsap (16 pts), Gordon Hayward
(12 pts) and Randy Foye (11 pts) finished in double figures.
"We're just playing like we want to be in the playoffs and that's the
difference. We've just got to continue to play well," Jefferson said.
Utah has won each of its last five games by 10 or more points and improved to
28-9 in Salt Lake City. The Jazz will close the homestand Friday versus the
New Orleans Hornets.
Denver lost two straight -- both on the road -- after winning 15 in a row, but
got back into the win column with Friday's 109-87 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nuggets received a career-high 19 points from Evan Fournier in a reserve
role and he saw plenty of action with point guard Ty Lawson sidelined with a
heel issue. Wilson Chandler scored 16 points off the bench for the Nuggets,
who are four games in back of Oklahoma City for the Northwest lead and the
second spot in the conference standings.
"Our job is to get as high of a seed as possible, and whatever the injury
situation, I think most people are fairly optimistic (Ty Lawson) will be
fine," said Denver coach George Karl. "I don't think we should have anything
in our head, except to try and win every game, and maybe the last game of the
season think about resting the team if everything is solidified."
Denver scored 29 points off 21 Brooklyn turnovers and is 17-21 away from home
this season. After visiting with the Jazz, the Nuggets will return to the
Pepsi Center for three games.
Meanwhile, Lawson is doubtful against the Jazz and did not play against the
Nets. He has missed four of the last five games and leads the Nuggets with
The Nuggets are 2-1 in the season series with the Jazz, losing the first
meeting in Salt Lake City on Nov. 26. Denver has lost three in a row and 11 of
its previous 14 games in Utah.
The Sports Network