From early on, the Blazers' focus was on experimentation: unusual lineups, unique match-ups, giving minutes to players fighting for minutes. A way to test the team and see how they respond.
The Blazer starters jumped out to a nice lead, having no serious issues with the Jazz. Coach Terry Stotts quickly moved to the bench to see how they handled the Jazz lineup, and that's when things went downhill. The Blazer lead was quickly gone, and Enes Kanter carved up the bench interior. From there, Stotts experimented with various lineups through the first half, mixing the starters with the bench to mixed results. Utah led at halftime.
Utah attempted to extend the lead into the second half, but Stotts increased the starters' minutes, and they quickly restored order. Stotts chose Mo Williams, Will Barton and Thomas Robinson to get various crunch-time minutes with the starters in a close (preseason) game. Portland's defense picked up a bit, and the newly-entered Joel Freeland hit a jumper from the top of the key to finish off the Jazz.
LaMarcus Aldridge is ready for the season, and it shows. He almost has that "too cool for school" look on the court, effortlessly getting into position for easy shots, and even running down court for a fast-break block at one point. He had 16 points and 4 rebounds.
Robin Lopez had a nice night, showing energy at both ends of the court. He finished with a double-double, 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Mo Williams showed his offense streak, returning to Utah for a nice night (17 points, 3 assists). But if you don't like watching him shoot, don't pass him the ball.
Rebounding: Yet again, the Blazers look like a strong rebounding team, including 19 offensive boards.
Nobody had a truly dreadful night, but most of the bench didn't shine. Thomas Robinson (0 points, 6 rebounds) struggled a bit against Utah's interior. Victor Claver (1 point, 3 rebounds) saw limited minutes, and was given no court time in the fourth quarter.
Turnovers: The less said about the 18 turnovers, the better. This is starting to be a preseason trend.
A Friday night game against the Clippers, televised nationally on NBA TV. And the usual entertainment on Blazer's Edge in between!