FINAL: Utah Jazz 93, Portland Trail Blazers 89

The Blazers blew a winnable game in Utah, coming up 4 points short in the fourth quarter. Even worse, Nicolas Batum went down with an apparent left knee injury late in the game, we'll update you when we have news. [See Ben's ongoing Batum injury post]

The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge and Batum. Nobody else was really relevant. This was one of those games where you wonder why you watched as it ended.

The first quarter was nearly a dream on the road. The Blazers shot 55%, with only one turnover. On top of that, they showed off spectacular defense on multiple occasions. However, Utah used some defense of their own to stay close, ending the quarter with a 6 point Blazer lead.

In the second quarter, the Blazers’ lead reached double digits, but Utah stormed back. Why? Offensive rebounds (Utah led 11-2, for a 19-5 point advantage)) and steals (4-1 Utah) were killers. But Portland’s 47% FG dominated Utah’s 30%, as did their spread-out scoring, with 9 players on the board in the first half alone.

LaMarcus opened the third quarter en fuego, scoring 14 points in 7 minutes to help push the lead back to 11. Then came another "Blazer lull" as they seemed to run out of energy at both ends, with turnovers and poor shot selection at one end, while giving up easy points at the other. The Jazz quickly went on a 13-2 run to pull into a tie. The third quarter ended with keystone cops music, and the Blazers clinging to a 1 point lead.

Speaking of keystone cops, the Blazers immediately gave away the opening pass of the fourth quarter to help Utah pull into a tie again. In return, Batum nailed three straight three pointers to keep the Blazers alive, while giving up layups and dunks at the other end. You know your defense is struggling when the Utah Jazz look like the Harlem Globetrotters. Meanwhile, Portland stopped hitting FG’s. Utah’s took the lead with 6:25 left on a lucky roll. This is where there "digusting" comments showed up in the GDT. Soon the deficit was seven, Wallace as T’d up, the Blazers look asleep, and the Jazz are dominating. As the clock runs down, Portland fights back, as a Batum three cuts the lead to three. As the Blazers try to tie, Nic Batum goes down with a leg injury of some kind, and Utah uses their rebounding advantage to hold on for the win.

The box score is here. Stay tuned for Dave's recap if you dare, and the next game is at home Wednesday in Charlotte. -- Tim

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