Jazz Grab Much-Needed Victory Over Blazers
Utah 110, Portland 93
SALT LAKE CITY, April 8 (Ticker) -- Matt Harpring did his part to keep the Utah Jazz's playoff chances alive.
Harpring scored 18 of his 29 points in the first half and the Jazz started a critical three-game homestand with a 110-93 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
"We're still alive, we've won two in a row," Harpring said. "You never know what happens. We could go on a good winning streak now. Maybe L.A. loses, maybe Sacramento loses, you never know."
Harpring's 3-pointer with four seconds left in the first half gave Utah a 56-50 lead at the break. The Trail Blazers were within 58-54 early in the third quarter before Harpring made a jumper to start a 15-5 run.
Mehmet Okur, who scored 18 points, capped the burst with a jumper to make it 73-59 with 4:52 left in the period. Portland never got closer than seven points thereafter in losing its 13th straight on the road.
"I thought we executed our offense pretty well," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We're still alive and that's the important thing. The games mean something ... You just keep fighting and playing until the season is over and see what happens."
Andrei Kirilenko had 24 points and seven blocked shots for Utah, which hosts Houston and Denver this week before a three-game road trip starting Friday against the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, with whom the Jazz are currently tied.
Playing in a shuffled lineup, the 6-7 Harpring was able to take advantage of numerous mismatches against smaller defenders.
"(Harpring) is awesome. He takes advantage of every single position," Kirilenko said. "(Against) someone from the guard position, he can just post up all night."
Harpring shot 11-of-16 from the floor but credited his team's defense with the win.
"We came in at halftime and we'd given up too many points," he said. "We just tightened up the defense a little bit. I think we played with a little bit more energy in the second half."
Zach Randolph led the Blazers with 28 points. Darius Miles chipped in 13 but left in the fourth quarter with an apparent right foot injury.
Portland shot 58 percent (22-of-38) from the line and was outrebounded, 45-32.