"Soooo... what are you doing the other 6 days of the week this fall?"
Well, when you're starting Hasheem Thabeet and Nolan Smith, you can guess the result. On Fan Appreciation Night at the Rose Garden, the fans got a nice view of the Utah Jazz dominating the remnants of the 2012 Portland Trail Blazers. Felton, Crawford, Aldridge, and now Przybilla (Bronchitis) did not play, and the remaining Blazers had no chance of keeping up with the Jazz, who are trying to claw their way into the postseason.
The Blazers were led in scoring by Wesley Matthews' 21 points, with double figure nights from Nolan Smith, Luke Babbitt, JJ Hickson (16 points apiece) and Jonny Flynn (11 points).
The Blazers starting lineup consisted of Smith, Matthews, Batum, Hickson and Thabeet. The modified lineup struggled to get in sync, and Utah jumped to a quick 14-5 lead. After Thabeet's departure, the Blazers closed to within three at the end of one. In the second quarter, Portland kept it close early, but former "Blazer PGotF" Devin Harris went off. By the end of the first half, he hit 6 or 9 three-pointers for 25 points, and Utah led by 18.
Gordon Hayward hit a three to start the third, as a sore Nicolas Batum did not return to the game. The remaining Blazers showed little coordinated offense, but played a cooled-down Utah to a stand-still, with a bored crowd staring at a 21 point deficit after three.
Not much to write about in the fourth quarter, as the Blazers' last home game ended with a thud. Portland pushed the lead temporarily under 20 as the remaining fans clapped their encouragement for the last time this season, then quietly headed home after a few pictures.
Don't bother with the box score, but stay tuned for Dave and Ben with plenty more. The Blazers begin their last road trip Saturday night in Memphis. -- Tim