The Portland Trail Blazers were defeated by the Utah Jazz 115-99 in the second game of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament for both teams. The Blazers were unable to overcome a late run from the Jazz that forced the game out of reach after Portland had been within striking distance for most of the contest.
The Blazers were led in scoring by Jerami Grant, who tallied 26 points. DeAndre Ayton recorded a season-high 22 points and had 10 rebounds to go along with it.
Utah had six players score in double figures, led by 30 points from Jordan Clarkson. Lauri Markannen also added 21 points.
The Blazers and Jazz traded baskets in the opening minutes of the game with neither team able to create any separation. Jordan Clarkson did the brunt of the scoring for Utah, tallying seven of the first 13 for the Jazz. The two teams went into the first break in the game tied.
The Jazz came out of the break aggressive, capitalizing on some Blazer fouls and turnovers to gain some traction and take a 29-19 lead. Two straight baskets by Clarkson brought him up to 14 points in the quarter, and prompted the first timeout from Head Coach Chauncey Billups.
Some impressive shooting late from the Blazers helped them narrow the gap before the end of the first quarter slightly, but the Jazz were able to hold Portland at bay by drawing even more fouls and hitting their free throws. The first quarter ended 36-28 in favor of Utah. Although the Blazers kept the score relatively close, an 11-2 free throw discrepancy gave the Jazz the advantage through one quarter.
The Jazz opened the quarter on fire from the field. They scored on their first four possessions to quickly expand the lead to 14 points about a minute and a half into the quarter. The first Blazers timeout of the quarter came just under three minutes into the second, with Utah leading 47-33.
Portland came out of the timeout playing great defense and getting easy baskets on the other end. A quick 13-3 run after the timeout brought the Blazers back within four points. The Jazz responded with a 10-2 run of their own, taking advantage of multiple Blazer turnovers to regain a 12-point lead.
A Matisse Thybulle three-pointer just before halftime made the deficit nine points. Turnovers continued to plague Portland throughout the second quarter. Utah was able to keep the Blazers at arm’s length despite turning the ball over a few times themselves. At half, Portland already had 12 TO’s, compared to just 4 for the Jazz.
DeAndre Ayton led the Blazers in scoring with 14 points in the first half. Clarkson had 16 to lead all scorers. Utah led Portland 67-58 at halftime.
The Blazers shot out of the halftime break led by the strong interior play of DeAndre Ayton. Ayton scored a dunk off of a great pass from Shaedon Sharpe. That brought him up to 20 points on the night, a season high in scoring. The dunk punctuated a 12-4 run for the Blazers, forcing the Jazz to take the first timeout of the second half. The run brought Portland within four points at 74-70.
Ayton continued his impressive performance, grabbing a couple of offensive rebounds and getting another huge dunk. The Blazers got a scoring boost from Jerami Grant, who got over 20 points for the sixth straight game. However, five straight points from Utah to end the quarter meant that Portland headed into the final frame down 95-86.
A Sharpe three-pointer, steal and forced clear-path foul to start the fourth quarter highlighted a very quick 7-0 run in about a minute for the Blazers. That narrowed the deficit to just two points. The teams traded baskets for a couple minutes before Portland called a timeout with Utah leading 99-93.
The Jazz came out of the timeout on fire. They scored seven straight points, bringing their total run up to 11-0. The Blazers called a timeout just over a minute after the previous break after Utah’s lead ballooned to 13.
Jerami Grant scored the first Portland points in about three minutes. It did little to stop the bleeding, however, as the Blazers continued to be ice cold from the field down the stretch. A game that was as close as two points with about eight minutes left turned into a blowout, ending with the Blazers emptying the bench for the final minutes.
Stay tuned for in-depth analysis of the game coming soon.
Portland will be back in action against the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow at 7:00 Pacific.