It’s the thrill of the chase.

Needless to say, the Utah Jazz would rather it wasn’t this way. They’d much prefer to have already locked up a playoff berth and save their fans and management the hand-wringing that will inevitably accompany the remaining eight games of a bizarre, disjointed season.

But, still, in their second annual final-weeks push for the eighth spot, there is a sense of excitement around a team left for dead as recently as a week ago.

“I told the guys the other night man, if you like to compete,” coach Tyrone Corbin said, “you like to be in these kinds of fights. This is where you figure out where you are.”

Entering Monday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Jazz (38-36) are in eighth in the West, holders of a tiebreaker with the Los Angeles Lakers by virtue of a 2-1 win in the season series.

– Reported by Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune