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Jazz nation rejoices over win against the Timberwolves, loss of Kobe in L.A.

Published: Wednesday, July 29 2015 4:55 p.m. MDT

Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz celebrates after banking in a shot at the end of the first quarter during NBA basketball in Salt Lake City Friday, April 12, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz celebrates after banking in a shot at the end of the first quarter during NBA basketball in Salt Lake City Friday, April 12, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

The Jazz defeated the Timberwolves 107-100 Friday night to stay in the race for the playoffs.

Utah trailed Minnesota for most of the third quarter, but behind a very strong performance by Al Jefferson, Utah regained the lead in the fourth quarter, Al Jefferson hit a big push shot in the lane with 39 seconds remaining to get the Jazz up by three, and Utah made enough free throws down the stretch to win their final home game of the year.

Jefferson was monstrous in the second half. By games end, Jefferson had 40 points on 19-for-27 shooting with 13 rebounds and six assists. Three other Jazzmen scored in double figures Friday: Randy Foye with 16 points, Mo Williams with 16 and Paul Millsap with 10 points.

Al Jefferson of the Utah Jazz celebrates hitting a shot in the last minute of the game against Minnesota during NBA basketball in Salt Lake City Friday, April 12, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Al Jefferson of the Utah Jazz celebrates hitting a shot in the last minute of the game against Minnesota during NBA basketball in Salt Lake City Friday, April 12, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Minnesota was led by JJ Barea, who scored 19 of his 23 points in the first half. He also was involved in an altercation with Derrick Favors in the final three minutes that spurred an 8-0 Minnesota run in the final five minutes.

Full game story: Big night for Big Al leads to a big-but-close win over T-Wolves

Brad Rock: Utah Jazz still in prevention mode

Instant Analysis: Big Al wills team to win

Randy Hollis: Friday's intense duel felt as if playoffs started a week early

Timberwolves: J.J. Barea is public enemy No. 1 for a night in Salt Lake City

Notebook: Late-season playoff run has been fun for players

Paul Millsap of the Utah Jazz is fouled by Andrei Kirilenko of the Minnesota Timberwolves during NBA basketball in Salt Lake City Friday, April 12, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Paul Millsap of the Utah Jazz is fouled by Andrei Kirilenko of the Minnesota Timberwolves during NBA basketball in Salt Lake City Friday, April 12, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Six Timberwolves scored in double figures. Besides Barea, Chase Budinger had 12, Ricky Rubio had 13, Derrick Williams had 11 and Greg Stiesma as well as Luke Ridnour each contributed 10 points. Former Jazz man Andrei Kirilenko scored eight points for the Timberwolves.

This game was a must win for the Jazz, which at the beginning of the night were a game behind Los Angeles for the 8th and final playoff seed. Los Angeles played the Golden State Warriors Friday as well.

With only three games remaining on Utah's schedule this regular season, it must at least finish tied with the Los Angeles Lakers in order to qualify as the Western Conference No. 8 seed.

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