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Jefferson, Harris lift Jazz over Warriors

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Associated Press
4/7/2012 12:25:50 AM
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SALT LAKE CITY -- Devin Harris could only watch in street clothes as the Utah Jazz lost another close game on Wednesday.

On Friday night, he made sure it didn't happen again.

Harris made a difference inside and out, scoring a season-high 28 points, with five assists, two steals and no turnovers, to lead the Jazz to a 104-98 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

"I'm just happy to see it tonight," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of Harris' success after missing a game with a sprained left ankle. "He did a great job. He went inside and out, (showed) great patience on offence and took the right shots. And against a zone, that's how you break it -- you make shots from the perimeter."

Harris started strong with 12 first-quarter points and scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter.

He was 8 of 13 overall and 5 of 8 from 3-point range. He also got to the free throw line, making 7 of 8 attempts.

Al Jefferson led the Jazz with 30 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high five blocks despite sitting out the final 4 1/2 minutes of the third quarter with an abdominal strain.

"They had two weapons the entire night," said Warriors forward David Lee, who had 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting. "Al played a great game inside and the big thing that killed us, it seems like every time it got close, (was) Devin Harris."

Lee called Harris a streaky 3-point shooter. "But he can get it going. Definitely got it going in the second half and made a bunch of big shots," he said.

The victory snapped a two-game home losing streak for the Jazz (29-27) and kept them in the playoff hunt. They are ninth in the Western Conference but only three games out of the No. 5 spot.

They did it despite illness and injury.

Paul Millsap played 39 minutes (12 points) despite spending much of Friday in the bathroom with a stomach virus. The Jazz also lost swingman C.J. Miles for a while because of nausea.

That prompted Corbin to go with a small lineup at times that featured two point guards.

"We played a little bit last year with a small lineup. We knew we could be effective with it," Harris said. "I think it went OK."

The Warriors only hurt themselves with 17 turnovers that led to 23 Jazz points, with Utah holding a 25-14 edge on the fast break.

Golden State coach Mark Jackson called the combination "a recipe for disaster."

The Warriors trailed just 28-27 after the first quarter but surged ahead 43-30 with 7:12 left in the second quarter behind a barrage of 3-pointers.

But Jefferson's tip-in stopped the 13-0 run, and ignited a 25-10 Jazz run.

Golden State, behind Lee and Klay Thompson, took an 80-78 lead into the fourth quarter.

Harris hit a pair of 3-pointers then scored on a fast-break layup to turn the tide.

Utah led 96-86 with 5:15 remaining before the Warriors went on a 7-0 run, with Lee hitting a jumper and Thompson following with a pair, including a 3-pointer to pull Golden State within 96-93 with 2:58 left.

Jefferson's 11-footer stopped the run, then Millsap followed with a fast-break layup and Gordon Hayward hit a long jumper.

Thompson hit another 3, then a long jumper to pull the Warriors within 102-98, but Hayward's free throws and late steal sealed the Utah win.

"They made us fight, but we just kept pounding the ball inside," Jefferson said. "Devin got hot and hit some outside shots, so they had to play honest, and we came out with the victory."

Friday's win actually hurt the Jazz in their bid to collect on a pair of potential lottery picks in June. They own Golden State's first-round pick unless the Warriors finish as one of the seven-worst teams.

Golden State (21-33) entered the game with the ninth-worst record.

The Jazz will lose their own first-round pick to Minnesota if they make the playoffs.

That's fine, said Jefferson, whom the Jazz acquired with that pick. He is seeking his first playoff appearance since his rookie season.

That's why he went back in the game despite the abdominal injury.

"I just have to fight through the pain," he said. "This time of year, what we are fighting for, you don't have time to complain about anything. It still bothers me, but I'll get through it, ice it down and I'll be ready."

Utah has San Antonio up next for a home-and-home series Sunday and Monday, then travels to Houston to begin a three-game road trip. Utah will then play four of five at home to close out the regular season.

Notes: Jazz swingman C.J. Miles left with 4:35 remaining in the first quarter because of nausea. ...Lee, who is averaging 20.1 points, had 15 in the first half on 6-of-7 shooting. ... Warriors centre Jeremy Tyler scored 10 first-half points and finished with a career-high 14. Friday's win was Utah's 100th over the Warriors. ... The Warriors have now lost 12 of 15 since the Monta Ellis trade.

Devin Harris (Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images)
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