Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — In a somewhat meaningless regular-season finale, rookie guard Alec Burks scored a career-high 18 points to help give the Utah Jazz a 96-94 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
With the Jazz preparing for their first-round playoff series that starts Sunday at San Antonio, starting forward Paul Millsap sat out Thursday's game and Utah's other starters played most of the first quarter, then sat down and turned the rest of the night over to the reserves.
Derrick Favors added 15 points and five rebounds, Jeremy Evans contributed 13 points — including several crowd-pleasing dunks — along with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, and Josh Howard and Enes Kanter chipped in with a dozen points apiece. Kanter also had 10 rebounds and two blocks, and Howard had six boards.
For Portland, which finished its disappointing season at 28-38, J.J. Hickson had 20 points and nine rebounds, while Jonny Flynn added 18 points and 11 assists. Nolan Smith contributed 16 points and seven assists, former Jazzman Wesley Matthews added 14 points and Kurt Thomas chipped in with 10 points.
Utah (36-30) finished the season with five straight wins to claim the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Jazz will face the top-seeded Spurs in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series on Sunday; tipoff time is still to be determined.
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