The Portland Trail Blazers lost their sixth consecutive game on Wednesday night, getting soundly defeated 123-85 by the surging Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. The contest marked the fifth time over the streak that the Blazers scored under 100 points, a remarkable feat in the modern NBA. Portland was held to just 49 points entering the fourth quarter of the game, and trailed by as many 51 late in the third quarter. Some late window dressing wasn’t nearly enough to cover up a disastrous performance on both ends of the floor.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Jazz with 27 points on 9-14 shooting, including 6-9 from beyond the arc. Reserve Trendon Watford was the high-man for Portland with a 22-point effort, while CJ Elleby was the only Blazer starter in double-figures, scoring 10 points on the night.
For a quarter-by-quarter breakdown, see our Instant Recap. Here were the key takeaways from Wednesday night’s loss.
A quick look at the line score would tell you that the Blazers lacked anything remotely resembling an offensive rhythm for the first three quarters of the game. Brandon Williams, who’s breakout performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday likely placed him at the top of the scouting report for Utah, again got the start for the injured Anfernee Simons. Williams, however, struggled mightily with the increased defensive pressure. He was limited to nine points on 3-13 shooting, and committed four turnovers with just a single assist.
Veterans Josh Hart and Ben McLemore, the only two Blazers to suit up with any kind of legitimate NBA experience entering the year (along with Drew Eubanks), fared worse than Williams, especially from distance. The duo was a combined 1-14 from three-point range, and 6-22 from the field overall. All told, Portland shot just 32.6% for the game, and even that was buoyed by a 36-point effort in the fourth quarter.
Signs of Life
Perhaps the only positive Blazer fans can take from the game—outside of increased draft lottery odds—was the play of Watford in the fourth quarter. However, the Jazz were on to their third-stringers and the outcome of the game had been decided for about two hours by that point. Still, the play and energy of the rookie, despite the lopsided deficit, was a welcome development in a rough night. Watford scored 14 of his 22 points in the final frame, contributing in the paint, at the line, and even beyond the arc, as Portland outscored Utah 36-27.
The Jazz could have won this game a number of different ways, and appeared well aware of the fact. They entered the night with a decided height advantage, rolling out seven-footers Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside against a Blazer group who’s tallest player stands 6’9”, and with just two other players taller than 6’6”. Gobert and Whiteside were a combined 7-7 from the field, and likely would have had even greater production had the Jazz decided to look that direction more often. Utah also dominated the rebound battle, 50-36.
As the game wore on and the lead ballooned, they looked to move the ball around and take more three-pointers, with Bogdanovic establishing himself as the hot hand. All told, they ended up with 31 assists on 42 made baskets. 13 different players logged at least 10 minutes of action, while no starter eclipsed the 24-minute mark.
The Blazers will have the next two days off before hosting the Washington Wizards on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. PT. They’ll then embark on a five-game road trip beginning in Atlanta next Monday.