The Jazz began the evening a game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and Utah kept pressure on its rival thanks to Jefferson's big effort.
He scored 40 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, both figures tying his career best. Jefferson helped the Jazz pull away late after they had trailed with less than 4 minutes to play.
J.J. Barea scored 23 points off the bench to pace Minnesota.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]
Julius Randle breaks leg during NBA debut