Jazz take control in 4th, defeat Warriors 104-98

725952.jpg

Jazz take control in 4th, defeat Warriors 104-98

Player(s) of the Game: Al Jefferson, who did not play in Utah's 99-92 overtime victory over the Warriors on St. Patrick's Day, registered 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocks to help the Jazz keep pace in the race for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Jefferson wasn't alone, however, as point guard Devin Harris scored a season-high 28 points, including a career-best five made 3-pointers. He entered the game averaging just eight points over his previous five contests, and was shooting just under 33 from beyond the arc prior to tonight (he was 5-for-8 in this one).

Key stretch: The Warriors led 80-78 entering the fourth quarter, but Utah used a 18-6 run to take a 96-86 lead with just over 4:30 remaining.

Dorell Wright missed an open three with 21 seconds remaining that would have cut the Jazz lead to one. The shot looked dead on, but hit the front rim and skipped over and out.

Second quarter runs: The Warriors trailed 28-25 at the end of the first quarter, but made their first four 3-point attempts in the second, igniting an 18-2 run and a 43-30 lead.

However, the Jazz responded with a run of their own, dominating the final seven minutes of the half to tie it at 55-55.

Klay gets hot: Rookie Klay Thompson missed his first five shots, but finally got a jumper to go with 1:28 remaining in the first half.

The jumper gave him some confidence, as he netted 10 3rd-quarter points, and 11 4th-quarter points to finish with 23 -- the most he has scored since dropping 31 on the Kings on Mar. 24.

Entering the game, Thompson was 3rd in the league among rookies in scoring since Mar. 25, averaging 14.3 points per game.

Cleveland's Kyrie Irving (20.1) and Sacramento's Isaiah Thomas (17.9) are the only two rookies ahead of Thompson.

Career night for Tyler: Rookie center Jeremy Tyler set a career high with 14 points, 10 of which came in the first half.

His five rebounds and nine field-goal attempts were both the second highest totals on the season.

Jenkins with an ankle problem? Charles Jenkins seemed to be favoring his ankle in the fourth quarter and clearly wasn't playing at full strength.

The rookie from Hofstra had a very solid 1st quarter with 8 points and 2 assists, but picked up his third foul with 1:36 remaining in the opening period.

Mark Jackson inserted him back into the game late in the second quarter, but his foul trouble (along with an apparent ankle issue), slowed him down the rest of the way.

He finished with 8 points and 7 assists.

It may come as a surprise that entering the game, Jenkins was the 5th leading scorer among rookies since Mar. 25, at 13.9 points per game.

Thompson and Jenkins -- a starting rookie backcourt that is gaining valuable experience.

Notes:

LeBron: Chasing Jordan 'my personal goal to keep me motivated'

LeBron: Chasing Jordan 'my personal goal to keep me motivated'

BOSTON -- LeBron James says his chase of Michael Jordan's accomplishments is simply personal motivation. It's not about wanting to establish himself as the NBA's greatest player.

James spoke Thursday during the morning shootaround before the Cavaliers play the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

If the Cavaliers advance, James would be making a seventh consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.

He said his goal is not about passing Jordan in titles, points or MVP awards. James is 28 points shy of overtaking Jordan as the postseason's leading scorer. With 40 more points, James could also become the first player in NBA history to score 6,000 points in the playoffs.

But the Cavaliers superstar says his pursuit is about leaving a legacy to motivate the next generation of players.

"It's just my personal goal to keep me motivated, that's all," James said. "You guys are gonna have the conversations about who's the greatest of all time and things of that nature, it doesn't matter to me."

He also said he believes that the greatness conversation is discussed more often in the NBA than in other sports.

"It's never talked about (in the) NFL, who's the greatest quarterback. It's just like (Dan) Marino, (John) Elway, (Peyton) Manning, (Tom) Brady - all great quarterbacks. It should be the same for us," James said. "We go out and just try to be as great as we can be every night.

"The comparison of always trying to compare people, either living or still playing or not playing - I think it's great for barbershops."

Mike Brown responds to Tyronn Lue's opinion: 'It's cute'

Mike Brown responds to Tyronn Lue's opinion: 'It's cute'

Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue made headlines on Wednesday.

"The stuff (the Celtics are) running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's (offense) for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing," Lue told reporters.

On Thursday, Warriors interim head coach Mike Brown responded.

"That's his opinion. It's cute," Brown told the media.

If the Cavs beat the Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night, it will be Golden State vs Cleveland in the NBA Finals for the third straight year.

More to come...