Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap lead Utah Jazz past Portland Trail Blazers
Al Jefferson scored 21 points and Paul Millsap added 15 to lead the Utah Jazz to a 86-77 victory over Portland on Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Weber State product Damian Lillard, the Rookie of the Year frontrunner, led the Trail Blazers with 26 points. He scored 20 in the second half.
Looking for the ninth win in the last 12 games, the Jazz jumped to a 10-6 lead in the opening minutes.
Wesley Matthews buried a three-pointer from the corner, however, and Portland used an 11-4 run to build a 17-14 lead with 5 1/2 minutes left in the quarter.
But Utah charged back.
Marvin Williams scored four quick points and the Jazz stopped the Trail Blazers on 11 of their final 12 possessions.
Millsap ended up with eight points and Portland shot only 34.8 percent as Utah opened a 26-19 lead.
In a sloppy second quarter, the Jazz started with a 10-4 run. They eventually took a 38-23 lead with 5:12 left in the half and cruised to intermission comfortably in front of the cold-shooting Blazers.
Millsap scored 13 points by halftime. Jefferson added 12 and DeMarre Carroll contributed 10 LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland, which shot 32.6 percent, with 11 points.
In the third quarter, Randy Foye nailed consecutive three-pointers to give Utah a 58-41 lead.
The Jazz failed to convert their next eight possessions, however, and Lillard kept Portland in the game with 14 points in the period.
Utah still owned a 73-58 lead with 10 minutes left before the Jazz went over five minutes without scoring, giving the Blazers life.