The Portland Trail Blazers were much more Cousin Eddie than than George Bailey this Christmas, getting blown out on the road 117-96 by the Utah Jazz to culminate a holiday basketball marathon.
Portland shot an abysmal 39% from the floor and was held at arm’s length for most of the night as Utah found success through a variety of outlets. Seven Jazz players scored in double digits while the Blazers again relied heavily upon its lead guards to shoulder the bulk of the offensive load.
Random thoughts and takeaways:
Sharing is caring. Together, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for just 31 points on 35 of Portland’s 89 shots. Nobody else on the team had more than 10 field goal attempts. This formula has made itself abundantly clear thus far this season: when the Blazers get balanced scoring throughout the rotation, they can be hard to beat; when Lillard and McCollum are tasked with putting team on their backs, the outcome is not usually very pretty. Tonight, nobody in the second unit played particularly poorly - Evan Turner had another low-key respectable night off the bench - but they just weren’t relied upon enough to have that much of a chance to greatly impact the game.
Stifle Tower. Rudy Gobert was the Grinch to Portland’s Christmas tonight, dominating them at both ends with an efficient 18 points on just 10 shots - including a posterizing alley-oop dunk over Meyers Leonard late in the fourth quarter - to go along with a suffocating seven blocks. He also held Jusuf Nurkic to just seven points on the same number of attempts, as Gobert just waltzed into the homes of every Blazer, stole their presents, stuck his tongue out and said “What are you gonna do about it.” Portland didn’t have an answer.
The Blazers get a day off before a daunting home-and-home with the Golden State Warriors, starting at Oracle Arena Thursday night.