Preseason Game 5: Blazers 96 Jazz 99

Boxscore

The Portland Trail Blazers dropped their third consecutive pre-season game tonight as their fourth quarter rally fell just short.  The Jazz held on for a 99 to 96 home victory.  The Blazers did not play Brandon Roy or Rudy Fernandez and LaMarcus Aldridge saw just 6 minutes of action. Nate McMillan emptied his bench, playing 13 players and giving deep reserves like Jerryd Bayless and Juwan Howard big minutes.

The Blazers again out-rebounded their opponent (47-36) but were done in by poor free throw shooting (21-35) and turnovers (15). Really, it was a cold night all around as the team shot less than 40% from the field.  Steve Blake was the notable exception, lodging his best game of the preseason by finding his long-distance stroke (5 of 9 from distance) and finishing with 19 points.  The Jazz attack featured balanced scoring, with six players in double digits.

The Blazers (2-3 for the preseason) return to Portland to host the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night at 6PM in the Rose Garden.

Here's the view from the other sideline, courtesy of Basketball John from SLCDunk.com.

It's just the pre-season, but....  You have to like how to team is clicking right now.  Despite the lineup experiments and PT given to guys that won't be with the team in a few weeks, the Jazz have managed to go 3-1 so far in the pre-season.

Most everyone appears to be ready to go for the season.  Too bad it's still a couple weeks away.  I'll be happy if we can avoid any more major injury until then and actually start out the season with a full roster.

Here are your video highlights courtesy of NBA.com. Check back later for more links.

Joe Freeman looks at Jarron Collin's return to Utah.

Collins, who has averaged 4.3 points and 3.1 rebounds during his career, is not going to fill a box score with eye-popping statistics. He's not going to wow with overpowering athleticism. But virtually everyone who talks about him, from Blazers coach Nate McMillan to current and former teammates, insist Collins is as intelligent as they come and a strong teammate. 

He prides himself on doing the unheralded stuff: defending, drawing offensive fouls, rebounding and simply serving as a positive veteran leader.

"I just do those little things that make a team better," he said. "It's what I've done my career and, quite frankly, Ime and I, we both do the little things ... that make the team successful. So (the Blazers) are going to have a difficult decision and I am going to make sure that it's a difficult decision by going out there and playing hard."   

Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune looks at the same subject

Deron Williams laughed when asked who would recite the scouting report on Jarron Collins before tonight's preseason game. In fact, the Jazz should just save themselves the paper given the eight seasons Collins spent in Utah.

As Williams joked, it would read as follows: Flops on defense. Not athletic. Range to about 8 feet on his jumper. A couple of other things, too: Outstanding teammate. Hard worker. Embodiment of professionalism.

Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune sees Andre Miller return to his college stomping grounds.

Miller continues to enjoy folk-hero status in Utah. In 1998, he quarterbacked the Utes past opponents like Arkansas, Arizona and North Carolina and into the NCAA championship game, where they lost to Kentucky.

It was a remarkable achievement and a springboard to a professional career that has taken him from Cleveland to Los Angeles to Denver to Philadelphia to Portland.

"Everything is going good," Miller said. "I like the environment here and I like the attitude of the team. We're just trying to figure out our way to the preseason."

Tim Buckley of the Deseret News looks back at the Paul Millsap Offer.

During what might have been the longest six days of his life - a span that started with him winning the lottery, and ended with him happy nothing's really changed - Paul Millsap just wanted to be away.

He tried not to ponder the possibilities, didn't want to predict the outcome: Would the Jazz match Portland's four-year, front-loaded $32 million offer sheet in the time frame for doing so, or would Millsap need to collect his bags, relocate the clan and shop for the sturdiest umbrella money can buy?

Here's the AP game recap.

Mehmet Okur scored 15 points and rookie guard Eric Maynor added 14 as the Utah Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 99-96 in a preseason game Thursday night.

Okur was 5 of 7 from the field and made two 3-pointers, both in the game's first 4 minutes.

The Jazz held the Blazers scoreless until Joel Przybilla's three-point play made it 8-3 with 8:07 left in the first quarter.

On the bright side, the Blazers did post the most offensive rebounds (25) in a preseason game this year, according to Blazers stat wunderkind Aaron Grossman.

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)

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