Altruistic: Jefferson’s double-double carries Jazz over Magic
Phoenix, AZ, United States (AHN Sports) – Al Jefferson and Devin Harris each scored 21 points as the Utah Jazz grinded out a crucial 117-107 victory against the Orlando Magic Saturday to stay in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
With the Phoenix Suns losing to the Denver Nuggets 118-107 early in the night, the Jazz fought hard throughout the match to earn a half-game advantage over the Suns and the Rockets for the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
Jefferson once again delivered usual double-double numbers, recording 21 points and 10 boards in 40 minutes. Second-year forward Derrick Favors also racked up 16 points and 11 boards off the bench while Paul Millsap had 18 points and 9 boards.
Gordon Hayward also contributed 12 points while Harris dished out seven dimes for the Jazz, who rallied from double-digits deficit in the third quarter.
Glen Davis chalked up 17 points and 13 boards in the absence of starting center Dwight Howard (back injury), while Jason Richardson and Ryan Anderson tallied 21 each for the Magic, who secured a playoff spot early this week.
The Jazz holds the 8th spot in the Western Conference with a 34-30 record, while the Rockets and Suns stay within striking distance with an identical 33-31 slate.
Meanwhile, the Denver Nuggets also made it to the playoffs after Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried each recorded a double-double to help their team beat the Suns at US Airways Arena.
Lawson had 29 points and 10 boards while Faried tallied 18 points and 14 rebounds in a hard earned win for the Nuggets.
Shannon Brown topped all Suns scorers with 28 points and Steve Nash dished out 13 dimes to become fifth in all-time assists leaders.
Nevertheless, the loss put the Suns’ playoff hope in jeopardy with two games remaining on their schedule.
Tuesday’s ballgame against the Jazz and Wednesday’s season-finale against the San Antonio Spurs will determine the Suns’ playoff fate.