Jazz beat Blazers in a 102-97 comeback thriller

Published: Monday, April 2 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

Desperate for a spark, Corbin inserted Jefferson to give the Jazz a big frontcourt that also included Millsap and Favors.

"You can play me at the 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, it doesn't matter. I'm going to get out there and try to play it to the best of my ability," Millsap said of the lineup change that had him playing small forward. "We had a mismatch on the offensive end, and defensively we were able to get bigger and cut out some of their touches down low."

The Jazz's Big Three went to work, scoring 20 points in the final five-and-a-half minutes of the half.

The Blazers' big lead was trimmed to a meager three heading into the locker room after Millsap hit a fading turnaround shot with 5.9 seconds remaining.

More creativity — and clutch play — was required of the Jazz in the second half. Point guard Devin Harris left the game late in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle. He hoped to return after icing the joint at halftime, but he was ruled out for the second half.

"That's why we've got three point guards," Harris said.

With Harris out, Corbin turned to reserve Tinsley to start the third quarter with Hayward and the unconventional Big Three.

That lineup continued to mesh, even building an 11-point lead in the third quarter before Portland began chipping away to make a game of it in the end..

The tired Jazz fell apart in the fourth quarter, and it seemed Portland might eke this one out after Aldridge scored four straight points to tie it and Matthews put the Blazers up three with a long ball at the 2:35 mark.

But, knowing what was at stake, the Jazz gutted it up and scored the final eight points on a Jefferson hook, two Millsap dunks a pair of Hayward freebies.

Tinsley also made a clutch steal from Portland guard Raymond Felton with 26.9 seconds remaining, denying the Blazers a chance to go ahead and then finding Millsap under the bucket for a huge dunk.

"It's a huge satisfaction for us just to get a road win," said Corbin, whose team improved to 9-19 away from Utah. "It's a huge win for us. We're struggling a little bit, but we need to win."

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com


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