Their professor gave them all A-pluses for their effort, which helped them improve to 32-30. With the win, the Jazz moved to within a half-game of the final playoff spot in the West. Houston and Phoenix are tied for the No. 8 position at 32-29 following the Rockets' loss to Denver and the Suns' win over Portland.
"You can't reiterate enough about the character of this group of guys," Corbin said, "and how much they understand and they want to do the right things and how they lay everything they have out there.
"We may make some mistakes, but the guys are going to continue to fight their way through everything."
That everything on this night included Nowitzki's roaming elbows, the Mavericks' rough-and-tumble physicality and one of the weirdest plays you'll ever see in a sporting event.
Dallas always tries to get a mental edge on the Jazz. But West took getting into an opponent's head to a whole new level.
Setting the tone for a weird and wild game, West stuck his finger in Hayward's ear after getting called for a foul on the Jazz shooting guard. West was given a technical — somehow avoiding getting tossed for the bizarre act — and Utah got the last laugh.
"(Hayward) had some lint in his hair. I was just trying to get it out for him," West said. "I was giving him a wet willy. That's all. We are two warriors. We're out here battling on the battlefield."
For the first time in eight tries, the Jazz left the battlefield as the victors.
"We just got to see where our heart is at," Jefferson added, "and I know everybody in that locker room wants to make the playoffs."
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