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Utah Jazz stumble down the stretch in loss to Portland

Published October 17, 2013 10:13 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Enes Kanter looked unstoppable to start.

The Utah Jazz center hit jump shots, finished on the fast break and backed down defenders on the block, as he hit his first eight shots Wednesday night.

Gordon Hayward, too, was putting on a show. The swingman had the ball in his hands often in the preseason tilt with the Portland Trail Blazers, slashing to the hoop, creating contact and earning trips to the foul line.

But with the game on the line at EnergySolutions Arena, a young Jazz team looked lost.

Down a bucket, Utah had two chances with under three minutes left to tie or take the lead, but squandered both of them in an eventual 99-92 loss to the Blazers.

"That's part of the process of learning to finish ball games," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said afterward. "We played a pretty good game up to the last eight possessions. … We've got to make sure we learn what we have to do and how important little things are."

With the Portland lead at 2, Utah's Alec Burks drove to the basket but lost the ball out of bounds. On the next possession, Hayward dribbled into traffic for another turnover.

"We at least have got to get a good shot," Hayward said. "We have to get a good look and we have to execute plays. Good thing it's preseason, so we're still learning."

The Blazers got 24 points from former Weber State point guard Damian Lillard in the win. Mo Williams, playing against his old team, scored 17 off the bench for Portland.

Corbin gave heavy minutes to Burks, Hayward, Kanter and Derrick Favors, and backup point guard Lester Hudson, down the stretch.

"We went with the lineup a little longer to see how we can play together and finish," Corbin said. "I thought we had some good things happen in the game. We have to learn a lot of situations. We have to get better in a lot of situations, but I thought there were really good sings on both ends of the floor."

Following a dismal outing Saturday against the Clippers, Corbin said he was pleased with his team's performance despite dropping a third straight preseason game. The Jazz struggled defending the pick and roll early in the game, but Corbin said he thought the play of his big men helped slow the Blazers' offense more as the game went on.

With rookie point guard Trey Burke out with a fractured finger, Corbin started John Lucas III. Hudson, who finished with nine points and two assists and kept free agent Scott Machado on the bench with his play, also saw significant minutes.

But it was Hayward who seemed to have the ball in his hands most often.

After dealing with a bruised arch last week, Hayward showed few ill effects Wednesday as he scored 20 points and notched seven assists. The forward's 14 free throw attempts were also welcomed.

"He's been on me since Day 1 to be more aggressive," Hayward said of Corbin.

Kanter, who described his performance against the Clippers simply as "bad," finished with a team best 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting. The young center said afterward his game is still rusty after missing six months this summer following shoulder surgery.

"I'm still not myself 100 percent," he said. "I still have to work on my game. I'm still not back."

Kanter started the game 8 of 8, but went on to convert just two of his final nine shots.

"If you're having a good night, you want to be able to finish, not relax," Corbin said. "You have to make sure you finish it off." —

More coverage inside

Kurt Kragthorpe • In a season sure to have some growing pains, the temporary loss of Trey Burke can be dealt with. > C6

Jazz notes • After a rough start to the preseason, young big man Derrick Favors finally breaks out. > C6 Blazers 99, Jazz 92

FG FT Reb

Portland Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Wright 14:05 1-2 0-0 0-2 2 1 3

Aldridge 25:50 7-13 2-5 2-4 2 3 16

Lopez 27:54 6-11 1-4 6-13 0 5 13

Lillard 32:43 7-20 10-10 1-2 4 1 24

Matthws 34:01 3-11 3-6 1-8 5 3 11

Leonard 9:47 0-1 0-0 1-4 0 1 0

Robinson 16:33 0-2 0-0 3-6 1 3 0

Williams 30:06 8-13 0-0 0-3 3 3 17

Barton 22:15 4-10 2-4 1-5 0 4 10

Claver 11:25 0-2 1-2 1-3 0 1 1

Freeland 15:21 2-5 0-0 3-7 1 5 4

Totals 240:00 38-90 19-31 19-57 18 30 99

Percentages: FG .422, FT .613. 3-Point Goals: 4-19, .211 (Matthews 2-5, Wright 1-2, M. Williams 1-4, Barton 0-1, Leonard 0-1, Claver 0-2, Lillard 0-4). Team Rebounds: 12. Team Turnovers: 19 (17 PTS). Blocked Shots: 3 (Lopez 2, Aldridge). Turnovers: 18 (Lillard 4, M. Williams 3, Aldridge 2, Freeland 2, Lopez 2, Wright 2, Leonard, Matthews, Robinson). Steals: 9 (Wright 4, Lillard 3, Barton, M. Williams). Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 11:40 first Defensive three second, 3:11 second Delay of game, 7:06 third Delay of game, 4:37 third.

FG FT Reb

Utah Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Jeffersn 16:28 1-2 0-0 0-4 1 4 2

Favors 31:29 4-7 2-2 1-17 0 3 10

Kanter 30:16 10-17 3-4 4-4 0 5 23

Lucas III 21:15 2-5 3-3 0-1 3 2 8

Hayward 33:54 5-16 10-14 0-3 7 2 20

Burks 31:32 1-13 2-4 1-1 1 3 4

Hudson 27:20 3-7 0-1 0-4 2 1 9

Evans 19:56 2-6 3-4 3-4 2 2 7

Holiday 14:06 2-6 3-4 0-0 0 0 7

Biedrins 13:44 1-1 0-0 1-5 0 4 2

Totals 240:00 31-80 26-36 10-43 16 26 92

Percentages: FG .388, FT .722. 3-Point Goals: 4-10, .400 (Hudson 3-4, Lucas III 1-2, Burks 0-1, Hayward 0-3). Team Rebounds: 11. Team Turnovers: 18 (22 PTS). Blocked Shots: 6 (Favors 2, Burks, Evans, Hayward, Hudson). Turnovers: 17 (Hayward 4, Jefferson 4, Kanter 4, Biedrins, Burks, Evans, Favors, Lucas III). Steals: 7 (Hudson 2, Biedrins, Burks, Favors, Hayward, Kanter). Technical Fouls: Delay of game, 4:41 second Delay of game, 10:24 third.

Portland 24 17 32 26 — 99

Utah 27 22 23 20 — 92

Attendance • 19,127

Time • 2:21.

Officials • Rodney Mott, Olandis Poole, Derek Richardson.