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Jazz blow lead, win in overtime

Friday, 16 March 2012

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Gordon Hayward scored 18 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and Paul Millsap made a flurry of key plays in the final minute to lead the Utah Jazz past the Minnesota Timberwolves 111-105 on Thursday night.

Millsap stole the ball twice in the final minute of overtime, made a key jumper and fed Hayward for a dunk as Utah scored the final six points.

Millsap, who blew an open layup to win the game in regulation, finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high eight steals.

Devin Harris scored 18 points and Alec Burks had a career-best 15 as he replaced CJ Miles in the bench rotation and played the entire fourth quarter and overtime.

Kevin Love had 25 points and 16 rebounds, Nikola Pekovic scored 20 and Luke Ridnour had 18 points and 13 assists for Minnesota.

The Jazz led 84-80 in the fourth quarter and there was little energy amidst the one of the season's smallest crowds in the normally raucous Energy Solution Arena. Millsap immediately changed the tenor of the game with three consecutive steals that led to two dunks and a standing ovation.

Millsap then made a 12-foot jumper, assisted on a Hayward bucket and blocked Ridnour's floater to give Utah a 92-80 lead with 4:31 to play.

The Wolves fought back with two 3-pointers by Ridnour and another from Love. Pekovic made four free throws on back-to-back possessions and Ridnour made a rebound basket with 11 seconds remaining to pull to 98-97.

Hayward made 1 of 2 from the line with 10.3 seconds to go. Millsap forced Ridnour to shoot a contested 3-point attempt as time ran down but Pekovic grabbed the air ball and banked it in with 0.7 on the clock.

After a timeout advanced the ball downcourt, Jamaal Tinsley alley-ooped the long inbounds pass to Millsap, whose wide-open layup rimmed out at the buzzer to force overtime.

On Feb. 22, the Wolves came back from an 18-point deficit against the Jazz and rallied to win at the buzzer on Luke Ridnour's floater, 100-98.

Minnesota almost did it again but it couldn't overcome the Jazz's 56 points in the paint and their 55-47 rebounding advantage, highlighted by Derrick Favors' career-high 16 boards in 23 minutes of play.

Love, who was averaging a league-best 32 points in March, shot 9 for 23 and had just two points in overtime amidst Millsap's heroics. The Wolves, who played their second game of a season-long seven-game road trip, now lead the Jazz by one half-game as they both chase the eighth playoff spot.

Al Jefferson, who left after the game to attend his grandmother's funeral in Mississippi, had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz, who won their fourth straight at home.

Utah next hosts Golden State Saturday night.
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