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Utah Jazz report card: Jazz rise to the occasion vs. Golden State

Published: Wednesday, July 29 2015 6:27 p.m. MDT

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A 97-90 road win — just their 12th away victory of the season — over talented Golden State (44-33) Sunday night proved that the Jazz (41-37) are indeed serious about making the playoffs.

With the win, the Jazz pulled ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers in the race for the final playoff spot.

GUARDS: Mo Williams (25 points on 11-of-19 shooting, four rebounds, two steals) matched Golden State star Stephen Curry (22 points on 8-of-19 shooting, five assists, five turnovers) in Oakland. A jubiliant chest bump with Williams near the game's end — a dagger — may have been the most notable thing Randy Foye (eight points on 3-of-11 shooting) did, as he was outplayed by the Warriors' Klay Thompson (20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, six rebounds). Foye has shot just 6 of 23 from distance the past three games after following a record-setting 8-of-9 effort against Brooklyn with a 3-of-6 display April 1 against Portland. GRADE: C.

FORWARDS: Paul Millsap (11 points on 5-of-13 shooting, three turnovers) had difficulty in keeping up with David Lee (21 points on 8-of-17 shooting, 13 rebounds). Carl Landry also proved tricky (10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, seven rebounds) in just 19 minutes. Gordon Hayward (13 points on 5-of-11 shooting, six assists) proved reliable — outside of his four turnovers. Hayward has shot 46 percent or better from the field in eight of the past nine games. GRADE: C+.

Utah Jazz's Jamaal Tinsley (6) shoots over Golden State Warriors' Jarrett Jack (2) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.  (Ben Margot, Associated Press) Utah Jazz's Jamaal Tinsley (6) shoots over Golden State Warriors' Jarrett Jack (2) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (Ben Margot, Associated Press)

CENTERS: Certainly, Al Jefferson (19 points on 8-of-17 shooting, 12 rebounds) dominated former University of Utah star Andrew Bogut (just two points on 1-of-3 shooting, six rebounds, 24 minutes), but Lee figured into this matchup as well. Big Al has scored in the teens the past three games after going four straight contests with 20-plus points. GRADE: B.

BENCH: In tying the Jazz bench 21-21, the Warrior reserves joined a minority of teams this season in not being outscored by their opponent. As good as Landry was, Derrick Favors (12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, 13 rebounds) was also in-step. Since he often finds himself in foul trouble but had just one Sunday, Favors should have seen more than 29 minutes — or at least when he's playing that well and the opponent is high caliber.

DeMarre Carroll (three assists, three rebounds, 17 minutes) also played for a third-straight game after going MIA for seven of the previous nine. GRADE: C+.

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry celebrates after scoring against the Utah Jazz during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in Oakland, Calif.  (Ben Margot, Associated Press) Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry celebrates after scoring against the Utah Jazz during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (Ben Margot, Associated Press)

OVERALL: Given the importance of the game in light of their playoff hopes — especially because the Lakers lost earlier in the day — Utah couldn't have played more opportunistically. Fans can smile at a solid all-around performance: 45 percent shooting (including 11-of-25 from 3-point land) and just 13 turnovers, while forcing 16. Performances like that in the final four games will lead them to the postseason. GRADE: B-.

Rhett Wilkinson studies interesting stuff at Utah State University. Co-founder of Aggie BluePrint (USU's first student magazine) and a two-time Deseret News intern, he now interns for Deseret Book's LDS Living. rhett.wilkinson@usu.edu or @wilklogan

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