Found April 25, 2012 on Fox Sports Arizona:
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Paul Millsap scored 26 points and Al Jefferson went on a personal 8-0 fourth-quarter run as the Utah Jazz defeated the Phoenix Suns 100-88 Tuesday night to secure a Western Conference playoff spot. The victory halted Utah's seven-game losing streak to the Suns, dating to March 2010. Jared Dudley and Michael Redd scored 15 apiece for Phoenix, and Hakim Warrick had 12 for the Suns, who were without forward Channing Frye because of a shoulder injury. The Suns won the season series but can't catch the Jazz with just one game remaining. Utah can still claim the No. 7 seed if Denver loses its final two games. The Suns trailed 85-80 when Jefferson scored eight straight to put the game out of reach. Jefferson finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds and is headed back to the playoffs for the first time since his 2005 rookie season. He raised his right index finger skyward then punched the air as the final buzzer sounded. Jefferson called Tuesday's game the biggest of his career. He didn't disappoint, spinning on the baseline for a dunk then making an 18-footer to start his personal run late in the fourth. He also had two of Utah's eight blocked shots. The Jazz return to the playoffs after missing out last year in a season that saw Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan abruptly resign Feb. 10, 2011, and the team trade superstar point guard Deron Williams two weeks later. They did it despite being two games under .500 after a March 14 loss at Phoenix, playing lineups jumbled by injuries and by giving their under-21 players plenty of playing time. Utah also has played seven overtime games, including a double-overtime loss to Toronto, triple-overtime win over Dallas and quadruple-overtime loss in Atlanta. Seventeen other games have been decided by five points or fewer. The Jazz go into the playoffs with seven of their 14 players age 26 or younger, including four who are 21 or younger -- Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. Though young, they are on a roll. Tuesday's win was their fourth straight and they close out the regular season Thursday at home against a Portland team they already have beaten three times. Phoenix's regular-season finale at home against San Antonio on Wednesday could be Steve Nash's final game for the Suns. The two-time NBA MVP and eight-time All-Star will become a free agent this summer and is reportedly seeking a three-year deal. The Jazz led by 10 points early in the third quarter after Jefferson's 17-foot jumper and were still ahead 58-50 on a dunk by Millsap following Hayward's steal. Jefferson headed to the locker room with 7:30 left in the quarter to get two stitches above his left eye following a collision with Hakim Warrick. But he was back four minutes later just as Favors was picking up his fourth personal. Consecutive buckets by Warrick, Dudley and Nash got the Suns to 67-66, only to see rookie Alec Burks hit a 3-pointer and make a fast-break layup. Utah took a 73-68 lead into the fourth. The Jazz led 49-42 at halftime thanks to a 34-20 advantage on points in the paint, 20-8 edge on the fast break and 8-3 edge in blocked shots -- including five by Favors. Three-point shooting by Shannon Brown and Redd kept the Suns close early The Jazz led 25-19 after one, fueled by Millsap's 5-of-6 shooting and 11 points. Utah closed the quarter on a 6-0 run sparked by Josh Howard, active for the first time after missing 18 games because of left knee surgery. He entered with 2:43 left and hit his first two shots. Suns forward Grant Hill was playing for the first time in five games after re-injuring his right knee, but started 0 for 3 for the Suns. The Suns surged ahead 27-25 in the second, scoring the first eight points of the quarter while the Jazz missed their first seven shots. Utah then went with its big-three lineup, with Kanter at center, Favors at power forward and Millsap at small forward. The lineup produced an 8-0 Utah run. After Jefferson subbed back in for Kanter, he and Favors had three blocks in a 54-second span as the Jazz jumped ahead 39-31. NOTES: The Jazz announced backup PG Earl Watson won't play again until next season after right knee surgery April 17. ... Jazz SG Raja Bell was active for the first time after missing 13 games with a knee injury but did not play. ... Favors' five blocks in the first half tied his career high. ... Nash had seven assists in the first half but four turnovers.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Suns fans show Nash love in possible finale

PHOENIX -- A season that encouraged Phoenix Suns fans to absorb constant reminders regarding the proper time to rise and put on their game faces concluded Wednesday night with an unsanctioned recommendation. Despite the lack of official billing, it was easy to consider the otherwise meaningless -- but brutally ironic -- date with the San Antonio Spurs as an appropriate time to rise...

Jazz in playoffs after win over Suns

Paul Millsap scored 26 points and Al Jefferson went on a personal 8-0 fourth-quarter run Tuesday night as the Utah Jazz defeated the Phoenix Suns 100-88 to secure a Western Conference playoff spot. The victory halted Utah's seven-game losing streak to the Suns, dating to March 2010. Jared Dudley and Michael Redd scored 15 apiece for Phoenix, and Hakim Warrick had 12 for the...

Young Jazz secure final Western Conference playoff spot

Al Jefferson hasn't been in the playoffs since his rookie season with Boston in 2005. For Devin Harris, it has been since 2007. Seven Utah Jazz players have never even experienced an NBA playoff game. Thanks to the Jazz's strong showing in Tuesday night's 100-88 victory over Phoenix, that will change this weekend. Utah, which didn't make the playoffs last season...
MONKEY BUSINESS

Heat fan punches Suns Gorilla in face

A man dressed as the Suns Gorilla was punched in the face by a Miami Heat fan at a Dave & Buster's after he playfully kicked the guy when the Heat fan wouldn't high-five him.

Suns miss out on playoffs, draft positioning

The Phoenix Suns have increased their odds of winning the NBA Draft lottery to the plucky range of 0.6 percent. While securing this prime, talent-pouncing position, they watched their shot at participating in the 2012 NBA playoffs fall to zero. Tuesday night's 100-88 loss to the Jazz in Utah officially provided the Suns with a lottery ticket and killed a bid for the postseason...

Suns' Frye out against Jazz with shoulder injury

Phoenix Suns forward Channing Frye missed Tuesday night's game against the Utah Jazz because of a shoulder injury. Suns coach Alvin Gentry started 6-foot-10 rookie Markieff Morris in place of Frye, who is averaging 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds. Veteran forward Grant Hill was not on Phoenix's inactive list and was hopeful of playing after missing the last four games with...

On Steve Nash, the potential end of an era, and similarities to Kevin Garnett

Steve Nash didn’t play his entire career with the Phoenix Suns. He actually sucked, at least relative to what he would become, during his first stint in Arizona. Nobody saw a future MVP blooming when a rookie Nash averaged just 3.3 points and 2.1 assists per game in 1996-97. Nobody foresaw that 15 years into the future, the entire city, or at least so it seemed, would stand on...

Suns-Jazz Preview

With two games remaining, the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns aren't sure if they're going to make the playoffs or head home early for the summer. A Utah victory over visiting Phoenix on Tuesday night would answer that question for both teams, but an eighth consecutive loss by the Jazz in this series would give the Suns control of their postseason fate. With a one-game lead...

Nash says Duncan still one of greatest players today

Last week after the Phoenix Suns visited San Antonio and were defeated by the Spurs 105-91, I had a chance to speak with Suns All-Star point guard Steve Nash. Though Nash only played six minutes in the double-digit win for the Spurs, he was able to speak on why the Spurs are so good this year, and he said it all starts with their aging big man, Tim Duncan. “Well Timmy’s amazing...

Starting 5: Playoffs are set, Clips lose ground & Joe Johnson's answered prayer

Every morning, we'll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day. 1: Jazz in, Suns out The Utah Jazz sent Phoenix home last night, beating them 100-88 and securing the final spot in the playoffs. They are now likely to face the San Antonio Spurs, whom they've lost three of four to this season. But it doesn't matter much to Utah, who got...

Trail Blazers vs. Jazz Betting Odds & Handicapping Preview April 26

NBA Matchup Insight The Portland TrailBlazers season is finally coming to an end and it cannot come too soon since they have sputtered after the All Star break, lost their best player for the year, and they have dropped 6 in a row. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB! Portland Blazers (28-37) at Utah Jazz (35-30) When: 8 PM ET, Thursday, April...

Spurs 110, Suns 106

Patty Mills scored 27 points and the depleted San Antonio Spurs beat Phoenix 110-106 on Wednesday night in a game overshadowed by the fact it could have been Steve Nash's last in a Suns uniform. The crowd stood and chanted ''We want Nash'' with about 5 minutes to go, leading coach Alvin Gentry to put the 38-year-old point guard in the game for a few plays before...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.