Final: Jazz Tune Out the Blazers, 105-95

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Minus LaMarcus Aldridge, the Portland Trail Blazers played well against the Utah Jazz but came up short down the stretch. This was a heartbreaking game if you're hoping for the playoffs, and perfection if you'd like the 12th pick of the draft.

The Blazers' balanced scoring was led by Damian Lillard with 24 points and 7 assists. All the starters scored in double figures, including 17 apiece from Nicolas Batum and JJ Hickson, and 12 apiece from Wesley Matthews and replacement starter Meyers Leonard. LaMarcus Aldridge did not play due to his ankle injury from Wednesday's Nets game.

First Quarter: What a difference a few days make, as the Blazers jumped out of the gate quickly. Leonard didn't miss a beat in Aldridge's absence, and Lillard drew the defense to help open the lane for some easy buckets. Utah's big guys couldn't match the energy, causing the team to fell behind. They kept it close, but a nice Matthews three-pointer at the buzzer put the Blazers ahead by 8. Score: Blazers 30, Jazz 22.

After getting destroyed by Reggie Evans, I'm glad we aren't playing a team with any rugged, energetic post players tonight!
by Roy Wonder

Second Quarter: The Blazers brought in the bench, and they kept a slim lead. I'm going to ignore the first few minutes of this game to talk about Victor Claver's amazing move on the break, faking the defender by showing a behind-the-back pass, only to bring the ball back in front and score a layup while forcing a foul. He'll make every highlight reel tonight (assuming ESPN notices this game), and gave a glimpse of something possibly special. As the starters returned, the Jazz tied the score, but the Blazers responded. How? Two Batum three-pointers helped spark a 12 straight Blazer run, leaving them with a double-digit lead at halftime. Score: Blazers 52, Jazz 42.

Maynor took our bench from an F up to a C. That makes him an A.
by Chuck Nevitt

Third Quarter: The Blazers scored the first four points of the quarter, but the Jazz quickly responded with some strong defense to keep the game in single digits. While the defense continued to hurt Portland, Gordon Hayward showed up, hitting consecutive three-pointers to cut the lead to 3. The Blazers called timeout, but it didn't help. Within a minute, the Jazz had the lead. Back to back dunks from Lillard and Claver gave the Blazers the lead again, as the teams battled back and forth. Lillard's late free throws kept Portland ahead in the end. Score: Blazers 75, Jazz 74.

Ok, fellas, I'm impressed. Now you can tank. Troll the L@kers
by Honka Playboy

Fourth Quarter: The Jazz jumped ahead by three early, but the Blazers responded with eight straight points to force a timeout. Afterward, the Blazers went zone, forcing Utah to fall behind by 9. But that's when the Blazer coaches pulled out their smartphones, checked our GDT and saw Honka's recommendation above. In seconds, the lead dropped to 4. Afterward, the Blazers turned it over on consecutive possessions, giving Utah a 1 point lead with 3 minutes left. In response, the Blazers had three more terrible offensive possessions, and the Jazz lead reached 5 with under 90 seconds left. Matthews attempted a step-back three-pointer and was blocked (Wesley interrupts this recap to remind us he was fouled), and Utah scored again, completing a 13-0 run down the stretch for a 7 point lead. After a timeout, the Blazers promptly turned the ball over. It was just a matter of letting the last minute tick down, as a strong Blazer effort came up short.

Box score | Portland Trail Blazers tickets via TiqIQ

Stay tuned for more analysis from Blazer’s Edge later tonight. In the meantime, check out the upcoming Blazers schedule. -- Tim

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