Yeah, this is pretty much going to be the easiest post-game analysis of the season.
As you'd expect when the best team in the conference meets the worst--a team that probably couldn't find its own rear end right now with a GPS, compass, and six packs of Boy Scouts to assist--the Portland Trail Blazers did near-unspeakable things to the Utah Jazz in the Moda Center tonight. Let's put it this way. The Blazers shot 17-23 on three-pointers. What do you think happened?
If you said, "40-point lead, 32-point win," give yourself a cookie.
You can read Timmay's Instant Recap for the gritty details. We'll summarize here.
The game started with Damian Lillard hitting a couple of threes and Utah's Trey Burke going right back at him in a mano-a-mano battle of young point guards. This was like two kids landing punches in a playground fight. Then the offensive line of the Denver Broncos mowed over one of those kids and everybody in the school danced the Watusi on his head and all of his friends' as well. The Blazers hit more threes, grabbed offensive rebounds on their rare misses, forced turnovers, and scored on any play they ran. The Blazers led 39-22 after the first period. Even though Portland's bench tried to screw it up at the start of the second, the Blazers still took an 11-point lead into the half.
The Jazz should have quit when they were behind. What the Blazers did to them in the third period would make that tiger who bit Roy say, "Whoa there! Ease up, buddy!" It was a layup and three-point extravaganza, practically a video game. Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez...they all got into the scoring column repeatedly. When the smoke cleared the Blazers had won the third 40-13. Portland's deep bench players got a full quarter of play in the fourth, stretched out the lead a little, then gave some back before the Blazers exited the court proud owners of a 130-98 victory.
Not only did the Blazers make more threes (17) than the Jazz even attempted in this game (11), the Blazers made more threes than the Jazz made free throws (16). Portland snagged 50 rebounds, scored 50 in the paint, shot over 55%. The only Utah achievement of note was 17 steals. Only one of their starters scored in double figures, Gordon Hayward netting 10.
Talking any more about this would be mean, so let's get to a few individual notes.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 20 on 7-14 shooting. More impressive: his 15 rebounds. Take that, Kevin Love.
After dominating the offense in the opening 2 minutes Damian Lillard let his teammates take the game. Lillard attempted only 9 shots, hitting 7 for 21 points with 6 assists. Burke, his early nemesis, finished the game with 7 points and an assist, walking off the floor saying, "I'll get you next time, Gadget. Next time!"
Wesley Matthews took advantage of Free Three Night, scoring 24 points in 28 minutes. He shot 8-11, 4-6 from range.
Nicolas Batum hit 3 threes and grabbed 7 rebounds. Robin Lopez had 8 points and 5 rebounds in 23 minutes of play, giving him a nice rest for tomorrow's game.
Thomas Robinson was the standout off the bench tonight, scoring 13 points on 4-8 shooting, 5-6 from the foul line in 19 minutes. The Jazz hardly ended up guarding him. They were bewildered at that point. Robinson added 6 rebounds.
Allen Crabbe hit a pair of threes in 11 minutes and looked confident doing it. 8 points.
Will Barton made a lot of things happen in his 12 minutes, good and bad. He missed 5 of 7 shots but he pushed the ball and dished 4 assists against a single turnover. He looked in control but he traded a couple easier plays to make tougher ones.
Meyers Leonard showed up to Hanukkah with a ham. He got 6 rebounds in 12 minutes. You'll give him that. But he looked lost, ineffective, foul-plagued...it's like he regressed back to the beginning of his rookie year. Oy.
Dallas comes to town tomorrow night and then these same Jazz in Utah on Monday.
SLC Dunk might be replacing the "D" with an "ST" about now.
Evidently going up by 40 and shooting 74% from three-point range broke the Jersey Contest form again. Stay tuned.