Damian Lillard had 28 points, CJ McCollum had 26 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals, but the Portland Trail Blazers fell without LaMarcus Aldridge and Arron Afflalo in their last home game of the regular season, losing to the Utah Jazz, 111-105 Saturday night at Moda Center.
The first quarter was an absolute travesty for the Blazers. Robin Lopez led the scoring with eight for Portland, but the team only scored 19 points. Meanwhile, Trevor Booker of the Jazz scored 19... by himself, on 6-of-6 shooting, setting a new career-high for points in a game just 12 minutes into the game. Behind Booker, Utah led by 13 after one.
Portland momentarily came alive in the second quarter after a dunk by Allen Crabbe off a backdoor feed from Nicolas Batum. CJ McCollum scored ten quick points and the Blazers closed to within two. Then Lillard missed an open three, Batum missed two more, and the combination of Chris Johnson and Rodney Hood re-extended the lead for the Jazz. Some interesting calls by the referees added to the frustration of the Blazers and the home crowd, and Utah brought their lead back to ten at halftime.
The Blazers finally put it together in the third, with Lillard and McCollum leading the charge. Lillard had ten, McCollum six, Meyers Leonard had six, and Portland reversed the deficit to take a four point lead. Booker continued to be a thorn in the side of the Blazers, scoring 11 more, but the Blazers took a three point lead into the fourth quarter.
Just as soon as they got the advantage, the home team gave it right back at the start of the fourth quarter. The list of unknown players causing damage for the Blazers got larger when Bryce Cotton scored seven quick points and assisted on a basket by Jeremy Evans. Behind them, Utah ran on a 13-0 run for an eight point lead. The Blazers tried to counter, but Utah kept forcing their way to the free throw line. Lillard took it upon himself to lead the team, scoring nine in the period, and a feed from McCollum to Lopez tied the game at 101. Hood hit a running shot for Utah, and free throws by Booker gave the Jazz a four point lead with 1:18 remaining. Portland had multiple chances on the next possession, but they all fell short. One final chance fell when the Blazers failed to inbound the ball in time, allowing Utah to seal the game.
Crabbe led the bench with a career-high 11 points. Lopez had a season-high 21 points. Leonard had twelve points and four rebounds starting for the injured Aldridge. Batum had eight assists, six rebounds and three steals, but also shot 1-of-10 from the field. Booker had a career-high 36 points for the Jazz.
Blazers posted a 4th quarter D RTG of 142. It's up in their locker room.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) April 12, 2015
Terry Stotts upset and frustrated postgame. Said #Blazers didn't do what they needed to do to win an NBA game.— Amy Schwartz (@TheAmySchwartz) April 12, 2015
"Could you talk about CJ and Dame combining for 54 points?" "No, we didn't play defense."— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) April 12, 2015
Terry Stotts easily the most heated I've ever seen after tonight's loss. Criticized the defense multiple times.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) April 12, 2015
Terry Stotts about as mad as you'll see him post game. Did not like the effort. Said he was frustrated with "everything"— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) April 12, 2015
Asked if he felt #Blazers let their guard down.... McCollum said team didn't have "playoff mindset" ...another wrong move— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) April 12, 2015
Matchup probabilities after tonight's results: Rockets 30%, Grizzlies 28%, Clippers 23%, Spurs 20%— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) April 12, 2015
Terry Stotts, on the #Blazers' performance vs. Utah: "Very disappointing, very frustrating, & hopefully it was very sobering for everybody"— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) April 12, 2015
The Blazers could end up not returning to Portland before playoffs start depending on which team they draw and when Game 1 is scheduled.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) April 12, 2015
Sounded like Stotts gave the Blazers the ol' "I'm not mad, I'm disappointed" speech to the Blazers tonight after the game.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) April 12, 2015
"They came out ready. We came out not ready." -- Dame— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) April 12, 2015
Chris Kaman on playing only 4:18 tonight: "I wasn't ready from the start...Coach sensed that and went in other directions." #PORvsUTA— Jay Allen (@PDXjay) April 12, 2015
Batum trying to be optimistic about his rough night. "1-for-10 won't happen every night. I prefer that happened tonight than next week."— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) April 12, 2015
'@ChrisKaman on Trevor Booker: "He had a birthday night, and they beat us."— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) April 12, 2015
Terry Stotts, on Trevor Booker's 19-point first quarter: "He had a career first quarter."— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) April 12, 2015