At last, this was the moment when the Jazz could rid themselves of last season’s nightmare.
That’s exactly what they did Tuesday night at EnergySolutions Arena, with Paul Millsap’s 26 points and 15 rebounds powering them to a 100-88 victory over Phoenix and into the NBA playoffs.
The Jazz got there in the style that has defined them this season, amid displays of toughness, poise and drama.
Having returned from the locker room, where he received stitches over his left eye, Al Jefferson posted eight points and eight rebounds in the decisive fourth quarter.
The Jazz (35-30) steadied themselves after losing a 10-point lead, surging ahead to stay during a frenzied final period. A team that has experienced so many close, agonizing games fell behind in the fourth quarter, then became relentless.
"I’m proud of the way the guys responded," said guard Devin Harris.