Rookie Burks, dunk champ Evans lift Jazz 96-94

Associated Press Modified: April 26, 2012 at 11:16 pm •  Published: April 26, 2012
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Jeremy Evans hasn't been spotted much since winning the NBA Slam Dunk title.

On Thursday night, in a game that was more about pride, Evans put on another show as he fueled a 10-0 fourth-quarter run to lead the playoff-bound Utah Jazz to their fifth straight win, 96-94 over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Evans scored a season-high 13 points, including a pair of high-flying jams as Utah retook the lead in the fourth. He added a career-high 10 rebounds and three blocks for his first career double-double.

"It was crazy," said Evans, who averages just 6.8 minutes a game but played 28 in the regular-season finale. "I always want to come out and play with energy.

"(People) say it's meaningless that it really didn't matter if we lost or won, but you still wanted to win the game, just for my sake and the team's sake."

Rookie Alec Burks led the Jazz with a career-high 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting as coach Tyrone Corbin played his starters sparingly. He sat out versatile forward Paul Millsap as a precautionary measure because of a sore groin.

Wesley Matthews had a chance to win it for Portland but his 3-pointer missed with 2.4 seconds left.

Matthews thought he was fouled on the shot but didn't get the call.

"It was a tough call at the end, but with the refs you have to respect it," said Portland forward J.J. Hickson, who led the Blazers with 20 points and nine rebounds.

Matthews, the only Blazer to play every game this season, said it was another game that got away. He cited Utah's 16-8 edge on second-chance points, and 48-36 advantage on the boards.

"We played well enough to win it. We just didn't get enough rebounds. That's the story of this year. We didn't do just enough to get over the hump," said Matthews, who finished with 14 points.

Jonny Flynn added 18 points for the injury-depleted Blazers, who didn't qualify for the postseason for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

While Portland will try to forget about the disappointing season, Utah moves on to face top-seeded San Antonio in a first-round Western Conference matchup starting Sunday.

Corbin figured Thursday's game would be relaxed after a tense stretch run that saw the Jazz finally clinch the final playoff spot with a win Tuesday over Phoenix.

But he wanted to rest key players, and give other guys coming back from injury a chance to find their rhythm.

Small forward Josh Howard did that, scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds in his most extensive action for Utah since undergoing knee surgery in late March.

Corbin has said he would consider reinserting Howard into the starting lineup again if he played well and had no setbacks.

On Thursday, Evans took advantage of his extensive time to showcase his skills.

Al Jefferson, who scored five points but played just 10 minutes for the Jazz, enjoyed his front-row seat.

"It was good to get out there, get loose a bit and let the young guys play and pull the game out," Jefferson said.

They did against the Blazers, a shell of what they once were. They finished on a seven-game losing streak.

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