The chatter was back. For more than a month, the Utah Jazz locker room had been an itinerant carnival of sorrow. This team with playoff aspirations had not won on the road since Feb. 13. They traversed the country, distributing victories like third-graders sharing Valentine’s Day chocolates, always enough for the whole class.

But the Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 105-95 on Friday, halting a nine-game road losing streak and catapulting them back into a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for eighth place in the Western Conference. Back in playoff position, the Jazz (37-36) breathed a sigh of relief, and out came rich barbs, and a locker room so lively it felt like someone finally hit the play button after six weeks on pause.

"Winning does that," Mo Williams said. "Winning puts you in a good mood, especially when you care. Top to bottom, people care here, when you lose you feel down. It’s not so jolly, it’s not so loose."

Earlier in the evening, Williams was far from happy. The 30-year-old point guard, in his second stint with the Jazz, was benched by coach Tyrone Corbin in the second quarter. In the final minutes of the game, Williams carried the Jazz to the win, scoring 14 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter and spearheading a 25-6 run in the final six minutes.

"You get pissed off," Williams said. "Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, you come out and be aggressive."