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+.
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+.
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. firstname.lastname@example.org or @wilklogan
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company