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Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward lead Utah Jazz to a big win against Portland Trail Blazers

Published: Wednesday, April 18 2012 10:37 p.m. MDT

Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers' Wesley Matthews, left, in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers' Wesley Matthews, left, in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Maybe Devin Harris could've added a sweet new pair of shoes to his collection or been invited to throw the first pitch for his Milwaukee Brewers.

Then again, considering the night he had, that would have just been downright greedy.

When it came to his job as a basketball player, Harris couldn't have asked for a better night.

Neither could his Utah Jazz.

The Jazz's point guard lit up the Rose Garden scoreboard and sizzled the arena's nets, leading Utah to a 112-91 blowout win over a Portland team that only sorta, kinda resembled an NBA squad.

Portland Trail Blazers' Jonny Flynn (3) has his shoot blocked by Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson, left, and teammate Alec Burks, right, in the third quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore. The Jazz defeated the Trail Blazers 112- 91. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, AP) Portland Trail Blazers' Jonny Flynn (3) has his shoot blocked by Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson, left, and teammate Alec Burks, right, in the third quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore. The Jazz defeated the Trail Blazers 112- 91. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, AP)

As for the Jazz, well, they very much resembled an NBA playoff team, which they're now in the position to be in part because of Harris' 27-point performance and thanks to some key losses elsewhere.

"It does wonders when you're shooting wide-open shots," Harris said. "I had a couple of those that kind of got me going, and it just snowballed from there."

Earlier in the day, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin admitted 3-pointers can be a "huge weapon." He quickly added, "As long as you make them."

And Harris did — better than he ever has in his seven-years in the NBA.

In Rip City, Harris let 'er rip from outside, hitting a career-high six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 27-point game.

Harris had 25 points and all six of his deep shots in the first half to help the Jazz build a 57-39 lead after the two teams were knotted up at 28-all.

Utah Jazz's Gordon Hayward, center, drives to the basket as Portland Trail Blazers' Hasheem Thabeet (34) and Nicolas Batum, right, defend during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, AP) Utah Jazz's Gordon Hayward, center, drives to the basket as Portland Trail Blazers' Hasheem Thabeet (34) and Nicolas Batum, right, defend during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, AP)

It was probably a sign of things to come when Harris took an off-balanced jumper that bounced in the hoop after crashing off the backboard, putting the Jazz up 13-5.

"I think I hit my first three (shots)," Harris said. "I knew from there it was going to be a good night."

His teammates loved it.

"Devin was hitting shots after shot after shot after shot," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "He missed a layup, but I ain't going to say nothing about that."

At least not from here on out.

"When he kept just putting in shots after shot and hitting nothing but net, I just couldn't do nothing but laugh," Jefferson added. "It was just one of them nights for him. I was glad to see it."

But Harris wasn't the only Jazz player to make it rain in Portland.

Gordon Hayward continued his strong play of late, going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc en route to 23 points. To Portland's credit, none of the Blazers poked Hayward in the ear.

Utah Jazz's Gordon Hayward goes up for a shot as Portland Trail Blazers' Wesley Matthews (2) defends during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, AP) Utah Jazz's Gordon Hayward goes up for a shot as Portland Trail Blazers' Wesley Matthews (2) defends during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, AP)

Rookie Alec Burks also tied his career-best with 17 points.

And as a team, Utah didn't let up after building a big lead with a 31-16 second quarter.

"I thought we really understood where we were and the significance of this game," Corbin said. "We didn't want to have any letdown, so the guys did a great job of coming out focused."

The Jazz win improved their record to 33-30, and it wasn't the only thing that went Utah's way on Wednesday.

Houston not only fell to Dallas, but the misfiring Rockets, losers of five straight, dropped out of playoff positioning. So, too, did Phoenix, which lost to Oklahoma City.

Those losses gave Houston and Phoenix a 32-30 record — a half-game behind No. 8 Utah.

Utah Jazz's Devin Harris (5) drives to the basket as Portland Trail Blazers' Nolan Smith (4) defends during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Utah Jazz's Devin Harris (5) drives to the basket as Portland Trail Blazers' Nolan Smith (4) defends during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

"We feel great," Corbin admitted. "We're in the mix and we just have to continue to take care of our business."

Portland (28-35) was eliminated from the playoffs on Monday, and the Blazers didn't dress four regulars, including injured All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Raymond Felton, Jamal Crawford and Joel Przybilla.

Even so, Corbin was concerned coming into this one and warned his team, "Don't fall for the trap."

Utah didn't.

The Jazz scored the first four points and went ahead 19-8 against the outmatched Blazers. Portland fought back to tie it early in the second quarter, but that's when Utah went on a 29-11 run to seize the lead and control for good.

"We wanted to get some separation," Harris said. "And then once we got some separation, I thought the third quarter we came out aggressive and really focused in."

Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbinin shouts to his team in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game with the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore. The Jazz defeated the Trail Blazers 112- 91.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, AP) Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbinin shouts to his team in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game with the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore. The Jazz defeated the Trail Blazers 112- 91. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, AP)

About the only thing that went badly for the Jazz was a collision between DeMarre Carroll and Derrick Favors midway through the fourth quarter.

Carroll, who suffered a mild concussion Saturday, writhed in pain on the court for a minute or so after banging heads with Favors.

The third-year forward, who was signed by the Jazz in February and has played well as a fill-in starter, left for the training room with ice on his head.

Both Carroll and Favors were given and passed initial concussion tests and were laughing about the incident after the game.

"He tried to knock me out," Favors joked.

GAME NOTES: Guard Blake Ahearn's 10-day contract expires Thursday, and general manager Kevin O'Connor said his fate will be decided after a discussion with the coaching staff. … Ex-Jazzman Wesley Matthews led the Blazers with 21 points. … Utah's final three games are at home — Saturday vs. Orlando, a big one against Phoenix on Tuesday and the regular-season finale vs. Portland next Thursday.

Portland Trail Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge, center, and Jamal Crawford, right, talk while Craig Smith, left, listens on the bench during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, AP) Portland Trail Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge, center, and Jamal Crawford, right, talk while Craig Smith, left, listens on the bench during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, AP)

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