SALT LAKE CITY -- When it comes to being the last line of defense, nobody on the Jazz roster is more defensive than Derrick Favors.
The third-year power forward made a huge play Sunday night, blocking a layup by Golden State's Draymond Green and helping Utah regain the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference playoff picture.
Favors, 21, isn't one of the Jazz's starters, but coach Tyrone Corbin kept him in the game for center Al Jefferson in the closing minutes on Sunday.
While Favors doesn't have the offensive moves Jefferson does, he's got better defensive skills and it showed when Green drove the lane with 40 seconds remaining.
"Huge block," Corbin said Monday. "The blocked shot was great but if you look at the first part of the play, where (Favors) showed down on the pick-and-roll -- he actually jumped out -- and he was able to recover back to meet (Green) at the rim, to block the shot. That was a huge block for us."
The Jazz (41-37) will play host to Oklahoma City (56-21) tonight at EnergySolutions Arena. Currently, Utah is the No. 8 team in the West and owns the tiebreaker over the Los Angeles Lakers for the final playoff spot.
With four games remaining, the Jazz have two more home games (tonight and Friday vs. Minnesota) and two road games (April 15 at Minnesota and April 17 at Memphis).
Utah's magic number for clinching the playoffs is four. Any combination of Jazz wins or L.A. losses totaling four will suffice.
"We've got four games and they're all going to be tough games," Corbin said. "We've got to make sure we stay with our foot on the pedal."
The Jazz feel much more confident with Favors protecting the rim in clutch situations.
His size -- 6-foot-10, 260 pounds, couples with great athleticism -- can help make up for mistakes on the perimeter, Corbin said.
"A guy can come down the lane, make a spin move and (Favors) is on the weak side," he explained. "He can come from behind the play and still block the shot, even though you think he's beat."
Favors is averaging 9.5 points, seven rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game.
Since second-year Jazzman Enes Kanter has been out following a separated shoulder, Favors has seen an increase in playing time.
Since March 29 he is averaging 12.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.
The Jazz are 5-1 in those past six games.
"It shored up the minutes, it made it easy on (Corbin)," point guard Mo Williams said. "No he just doles out the minutes for the three bigs (Jefferson, Favors and Paul Millsap) and that's easy to keep the bigs happy."
* PITINO LEADS CLASS OF 7 INTO NAISMITH HALL OF FAME: Rick Pitino got the phone call of a lifetime and an incredible text at the same time.
Last Wednesday, John Doleva, the president of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, called seven people to tell them they'd in the class of 2013.
Pitino was one of the seven. He is among 12 people overall who will join the class of 2013.
The others announced Monday at a ceremony at the Final Four were college coaches Guy Lewis of Houston, Jerry Tarkanian of UNLV and Sylvia Hatchell of North Carolina, former NBA stars Bernard King and Gary Payton and former University of Virginia star Dawn Staley.
The inductions will take place in Springfield, Mass., on Sept. 8.
Inductees announced previously were: Edwin E.B. Henderson, a direct elect by the Early African Pioneer Committee; longtime Indiana Pacers guard Roger Brown; Oscar Schmidt of Brazil, the leading scorer in Olympic history; Richie Guerin, a star for the New York Knicks in the 1950s; and, Russ Granik, the longtime assistant commissioner of the NBA.
* WORLD PEACE ANTICIPATING EARLY RETURN FROM SURGERY: Metta World Peace plans to play in the Los Angeles Lakers' next game, less than two weeks after undergoing left knee surgery.
World Peace participated in drills with the Lakers on Monday, and the veteran forward said he's ready to return nearly a month earlier than anticipated after surgery on a torn meniscus. With just five games left to get into playoff position, the Lakers (40-37) host New Orleans on Tuesday night.