x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

NBA: Utah Jazz keep playoff hopes on track

Al Jefferson led the way with 22 points as the Jazz ran out 96-80 winners over Minnesota to maintain pressure on the LA Lakers for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

Official Derrick Collins separates players from Minnesota and Utah.
Official Derrick Collins separates players from Minnesota and Utah.

Utah kept their NBA playoff hopes alive as Al Jefferson scored 22 points and had eight rebounds to secure a 96-80 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Mo Williams finished with 15 points and seven assists while Randy Foye chipped in 14 points for Utah.

The Jazz are now one game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs.

Utah must win Wednesday's game at Memphis and hope that Los Angeles loses to Houston on Wednesday in order to make it to the postseason. Utah holds the tiebreaker over the Lakers by virtue of winning the season series.

Derrick Williams scored 18 points for the Timberwolves, who were looking to finish over .500 at the Target Center for the first time since the 2005-06.

Dante Cunningham and J.J. Barea came off the bench to score 12 and 11 points, for the 'Wolves who have lost four of their last five.

The Oklahoma City Thunder clinched home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs by beating Sacramento 104-95 Monday behind a 29-point effort from Kevin Durant.

Durant also had eight assists and seven rebounds for the Thunder who scored 62 points in the paint compared to just 46 for the Kings in front of a crowd of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Russell Westbrook finished with 21 points and eight assists, while Serge Ibaka had 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in the win.

Isaiah Thomas was the lone starter to reach double figures for the Kings as he finished with 16.

Travis Outlaw had 15 points while Cole Aldrich posted a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

The Thunder's victory also means they completed the sweep of Sacramento in the season series.

The Charlotte Bobcats, who have the worst record in the NBA, notched up their second successive victory with a 106-95 success over the New York Knicks.

Gerald Henderson led the way for the victors with 27 points but Knicks' Chris Copeland topped the scoring charts with 32 as Charlotte improved their form this season to 20-61.

The Chicago Bulls snapped a two-game losing streak with a 102-84 victory over the Orlando Magic. Carlos Boozer led the scoring for the victors with 22 points, with teammate Luol Deng pouring in 18.

Several of the Miami Heat's big guns sat out their match against the Cleveland Cavaliers - and their replacements made sure of a 96-95 success.

A 33-24 final quarter enabled the Brooklyn Nets to sink the Washington Wizards 106-101 at Barclays Center, while the Detroit Pistons saw off the Philadelphia 76ers 109-101.

Monta Ellis poured in 38 points for the Milwaukee Bucks - but the Denver Nuggets edged them 112-111 to secure home-court advantage in the first round of the play-offs.

The Memphis Grizzlies turned an eight-point half-time deficit into a six-point victory over the Dallas Mavericks, winning 103-97.

The Phoenix Suns were the night's top scorers, seeing off the Houston Rockets 119-112. But the Golden State Warriors were not too far behind - Stephen Curry racking up 35 points in their 116-106 win over the San Antonio Spurs.


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