Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin knows Portland missed some open shots during Utah’s 86-77 win over the Trail Blazers on Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Corbin believes, however, that his players deserve a little credit for shutting down the explosive Trail Blazers.
“We’d like to think our defense had something to do with it,” he said. “We were aggressive. ... I thought it was a good job against a team that’s been scoring the ball very well.”
Portland entered the game averaging 97 points after scoring at least 100 in three of its last four games.
But the Blazers struggled against Utah.
They scored only 23 points in the first 19 minutes and managed just 36 at halftime.
After Portland trimmed a 17-point deficit to 80-75 late in the fourth quarter, it missed three straight shots and turned the ball over twice.
Like Corbin, forward Marvin Williams thought the Jazz contributed to the Blazers’ ineffectiveness on offense.
“We worked together,” he said. “If there was a breakdown anywhere, everybody had each other’s back. I think we’re most effective when we play like that. ...
“We were really flying around and not giving up anything easy tonight. Anytime we protect the paint, we give ourselves a chance to win.”
Portland’s Damian Lillard scored 26 points and All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge added 16, although he missed 11 of his 17 shots.
Nicholas Batum struggled, though, in his head-to-head matchup with Williams.
Batum, who averages 16.3 points, scored only five in the loss to the Jazz. He took only seven field-goal attempts and committed three turnovers.
Asked how he slowed Batum, Williams said, “Slowed him down — that’s probably the right term. Guys are too good to stop. You aren’t going to stop anybody. ...
“Maybe he wasn’t as aggressive tonight. But I’m sure tomorrow night he’ll be more aggressive. So I’ll try to bring the same intensity on defense.”
The Jazz and Blazers play again Saturday at the Rose Garden, where Corbin hopes to get the same kind of defensive effort from Williams.
“He did a good job of sticking with [Batum] and making him work for everything he got,” Corbin said. “Marvin is big enough and long enough to affect perimeter shots ... He’s strong enough and fast enough to chase guys off screens. I thought that’s what he did tonight.”
Slowing the Blazers
• The Jazz improve to 20-6 when the opponent scores less than 100 points.
• Portland’s 77 points is the second-lowest total by a Utah opponent this season.