Jazz-Blazers recap: Portland's playoff hopes nearly gone after Jazz win

Scott Halleran

If Portland's playoff hopes were dim before Monday, they've nearly vanished now.

The Utah Jazz helped their hopes for a playoff spot Monday and delivered a critical blow to one of their competitors with a 112-102 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Utah (39-36) is the No. 8 team in the Western Conference and moved a half-game over the Los Angeles Lakers, who were idle Monday and are currently out of the playoff picture. The Jazz have a tough seven-game schedule remaining, with home games against the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder, and road games against the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies.

Portland dropped to 33-41 and is now 5 1/2 games behind the Jazz for the final playoff berth. The final eight games of the Trail Blazers' season include six games against teams currently in the playoffs. The other two teams are currently out of the top eight but each have better records than Portland.

Al Jefferson had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead six Jazz players in double figures. Utah led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter.

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