Apr.11 - SportLand: Utah has a chance to write one more chapter to an improbable comeback story.
The Jazz put themselves in position to claim the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference after cruising to a 119-79 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. Utah did not waste time taking control of the game and led by double digits over the final 3 1/2 quarters.
Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points and set an NBA rookie record for 3-pointers. Mitchell went 4 of 5 behind the arc and has made 186 3-pointers this season, breaking Damian Lillard's record for a first-year player.
"I am actually thrilled for him that he did that," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "He has been our guy, offensively, all year who we have relied on. He's unselfish, which makes the guys around him better."
Derrick Favors added 16 points and nine rebounds. Jonas Jerebko scored 14 points, and Rudy Gobert and Ricky Rubio added 13 points apiece for the Jazz.
Utah (48-33) won its sixth straight game and went 3-1 in the season series with Golden State. Now the Jazz are tied with Portland in the standings and can claim the No. 3 seed with a win over the Blazers on Wednesday night.
"What makes it a story is no one expected it," Mitchell said. "But the thing I've said all year is we knew we were going to be good. I don't think we knew we were going to be 3 seed good, but we knew we were going to be good."
It is a surprising position for a Utah team that lost last season's top scorers Gordon Hayward and George Hill to free agency over the summer and was nine games below .500 at one point in mid-January.
The Jazz believed all along they could climb back into the playoff picture and make serious noise in the Western Conference.
"Guys took it upon themselves to just get better in the offseason," Favors said. "We just stuck with the plan throughout the whole season and right now we're fighting for the third spot. Gotta give credit to everybody on this team."
Even with a loss to the Blazers, Utah is assured of falling no lower than the No. 5 seed.