SALT LAKE CITY -- Whle the Dallas Mavericks were at a loss on how to contain Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson, his own coach praised the work of his gentle giant.
Jefferson finished with 28 points and a career-high tying 26 rebounds as the Jazz nipped the Mavs in dramatic fashion, 123-121, in three overtimes Monday night at the Energy Solutions Arena.
Jefferson's performance helped keep the slim playoff hopes of the Jazz (32-30) alive.
"He was huge,'' Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "I mean, 26 rebounds, the timely shots he made on the perimeter.
"They did a great job of not letting him get the ball low. They were double-teamming him as soon as he got it, the had bodies on him all night to try to get him off the block, but he hung in there.''
Jefferson, who never went to the free throw line Monday -- converted 14-of-25 shots while playing 54 out of a possible 63 mind-boggling minutes -- said the torrid race to make the playoffs is what keeps him going.
"We want to be in the playoffs, (so) this is a big test for us,'' Jefferson said. "We've just got to see where our heart is at, and I know everybody in that locker room wants to make the playoffs.
"So we are going to fight and we are going to fight until the end. That's all we can do.''
The 20/20 game by Jefferson was the first one for the Jazz since Carlos Boozer collected 21 points and 20 rebounds in a Jan. 25, 2010 game against the Phoenix Suns.
-- Dwain Price
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