Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 3/31/13
After moving back into the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Utah Jazz have an opportunity to deliver another big blow to the Portland Trail Blazers' fading playoff hopes. The Jazz will try for their season-best fifth straight victory and beat the reeling Blazers for the second time in three days on Monday night. Utah's postseason chances appeared slim after a 113-108 loss to Dallas on March 24 to fall two games behind the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference. The Jazz, however, have responded with four straight victories to regain the edge over the injury-plagued Lakers following a 116-107 win over Brooklyn on Saturday. While they have the same record, Utah (38-36) owns the tiebreaker for the final playoff spot in the West. "When we were struggling earlier, I had a feeling that we would get out of it because the guys continued to work, they stayed together, they focused hard," coach Tyrone Corbin told the team's official website. Now Corbin's club seeks its longest winning streak since closing out last season with five in a row. Utah has already beaten Portland during this run, rallying late for a 105-95 road win on Friday. The Blazers (33-40) have been headed the other direction since trailing the eighth-place Lakers by just 2 1/2 games on March 22. Portland lost its fourth straight on Saturday, 125-98 at Golden State, to drop 4 1/2 games back of the eighth spot with just nine remaining. It hasn't helped that LaMarcus Aldridge, the team's leading scorer at 21.0 points per game, has missed the last two games because of a sprained ankle. His status remains uncertain. Rookie Meyers Leonard helped to fill the void with season highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds against the Warriors. It doesn't figure to get any easier for the Blazers in Salt Lake City, where they've dropped three in a row and 19 of 23 dating back to the 2001-02 season. The Jazz are also seeking their seventh win in eight meetings overall and three of four in this season series. Mo Williams scored a game-high 28 to key Utah's win on Friday and has 48 on 16-of-29 shooting in his last two games. Center Al Jefferson has also given the club a boost lately, averaging 22.3 points on 54.1 percent shooting over his last three games. He's also scored 20 in each of the two wins against the Blazers. While Paul Millsap had just nine points on 2-of-10 shooting on Saturday, he's scored a team-best 19.3 per game while shooting 54.8 percent in this season series. The Jazz, who have scored 107.8 per game - 9.4 above their season average - during their winning streak, will be taking on a Portland team that has allowed 111.0 per game and lost by an average of 18.7 points over its current skid. "We have to make it more of a priority in these last nine games to play more of a solid game especially on defense," Blazers coach Terry Stotts told the team's official website. Point guard Damian Lillard has done some damage in this series, averaging a team-high 24.3 points. Two of J.J. Hickson's 40 double-doubles have come against the Jazz, and he's totaled 38 points on 14-of-22 shooting and 25 rebounds in the last two meetings. Portland, though, has averaged just 86.7 points while shooting 18 for 65 (27.7 percent) from 3-point range during its three-game slide in Salt Lake City.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jalen Rose: ‘Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio’

WWE fires Enzo Amore in wake of rape accusation

Tyronn Lue says it’s ‘crazy’ to scapegoat Kevin Love for Thunder loss

Report: NFL wants Raiders to sign Kaepernick after Rooney ruling

Jay Feely: Gisele tried to get me to convince Tom Brady to retire

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Raiders to make a run at Le’Veon Bell if he becomes free agent?

Law enforcement to keep close eye on Tom Brady’s jersey, other items at Super Bowl

Joe Thomas shades Big Ben while talking up Todd Haley

LaVar Ball to serve as assistant coach on sons' Euro team

Report: Cavs question Love’s illness at ’emotional’ meeting

Robby Anderson's lawyer: WR did not threaten sexual assault, was racially profiled

The 'OK, so it's not always good to be The King' quiz

How to stop a Pats comeback: Never think you're ahead

How the Philadelphia Eagles arrived at Super Bowl LII

How the New England Patriots arrived at Super Bowl LII

Close calls: 20 MLB greats who came closest to Cooperstown but never made it

How things have changed since last Eagles-Pats Super Bowl

The Chicago Bulls' future is on the clock

Position-by-position breakdown of Super Bowl LII teams

The 'More things change...' quiz

Greatest surprise Super Bowl stars

Behind the scenes: History of the Super Bowl in pictures

Oldest players to ever be on Super Bowl rosters

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Close calls: 20 MLB greats who came closest to Cooperstown but never made it

The 'OK, so it's not always good to be The King' quiz

How to stop a Pats comeback: Never think you're ahead

How the Philadelphia Eagles arrived at Super Bowl LII

Greatest surprise Super Bowl stars

Position-by-position breakdown of Super Bowl LII teams

Oldest players to ever be on Super Bowl rosters

The 'More things change...' quiz

How the New England Patriots arrived at Super Bowl LII

Players with the most Super Bowl appearances

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker