The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge's 24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, with support from Wesley Matthews (16 points, 3 assists) and Robin Lopez (15 points and 11 rebounds). Damian Lillard scored 18 points (with 5 rebounds and 3 assists), hitting a three-pointer when it counted, despite a rough shooting night.
First Half: Look, I took one for the team simply by watching this half. Feel lucky you didn't do the same. I won't subject you to the play-by-play details. After being humbled last week, the Jazz clearly marked this game on their one-week calendar ("Play better next time"). They worked their rears off in the first half, fought for rebounds, scrapped, everything Nate McMillan would appreciate. Meanwhile, the Blazers lazily wandered around the court, missing out on rebounds and bricking three-pointers. Of course, the problem for Utah is that "lack of talent" thing. So, after all that, Portland led at halftime. Let's never talk of this half again.
Portland 51, Utah 45
Why do Blazer screens look like a minor inconvenience, while other teams’ screens look like BRICK WALLS BUILT BY GOD HIMSELF? Seriously, why can’t we set picks like that?
by Corvallis, OR
Third Quarter: The Blazers came out hot and somewhat inspired, quickly pulling ahead by 12 within two minutes. Poor Jeremy Evans found himself defending Aldridge and Lopez, and those possessions ended predictably. The Jazz spent most of the quarter in the comeback role, but found themselves down by 13 as the quarter started winding down. They had opportunities, but the Blazers would make a key defensive play to keep them at bay. Meanwhile, Dorell Wright memorably missed an open layup. If you were busy tonight, you weren't missing much.
Portland 77, Utah 64
Seriously, how did we get Lopez for so cheap?
Fourth Quarter: The Jazz made their push with 4 quick points in the first minute. But they struggled against the power of Joel Freeland, as he stopped them on consecutive plays while helping open the lane for a Lillard layup. Gordon Hayward started to heat up and kept Utah within comeback range, as the Blazers slowly started to bring in the starters. With less than 6 minutes left, Utah's free throws pulled them to within 7. And with under 3 minutes left, the crowd jumped to their feet, as the Jazz cut the lead to... well, 7 again. With 90 seconds left, the Jazz got a fairly lucky toss-up foul call, giving Hayward two free throws to cut the deficit to 5. The Jazz shut the Blazers down on the next possession, forcing a 27 foot three-pointer from Batum:
As the crowd gasped, the Blazers got a rebound and the cold-shooting Lillard immediately launched a three-pointer. Swish. With less than a minute left, the Blazers' lead was double digits again, which led to unnecessary Jazz fouling, a timeout to extend the misery, then the merciful sound of the buzzer.
After a ton of games in a short stretch, the Blazers finally get two full days off at home to relax and recover. But Houston will be in town Thursday night for a big game televised nationally on TNT. -- Tim
Comments of the night!
Thanks to everyone who participates in our nightly Gameday Threads! I always quote a few favorites in the recap, but for a little extra fun, these were the most popular comments of the night based on number of recs: