Utah Jazz lose lead, game to Portland, 102-94
Portland, Ore. • Terry Stotts brought the leisure suit.
Damian Lillard brought the hustle.
Without forward LaMarcus Aldridge in the lineup, the Trail Blazers' other All-Star caught fire in the fourth quarter to lead a 102-94 comeback win over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
"The energy, we need to play with that type of energy," said Stotts, the Blazers coach who patrolled the sidelines at Moda Center in a light blue jacket, the collar of his shirt open, in honor of Jack Ramsay, the coach who brought a title to Rip City in 1977 and who turned 89 on Friday. "â¦ That's the style of play, especially now, that we have to have."
The Jazz took a nine-point lead into the final period, but collapsed down the stretch. Portland jumped out to a 10-0 run in the fourth as the Jazz struggled to find the basket until Diante Garrett stopped the bleeding with 8:33 left in the game.
Lillard, the former Weber State standout, reigning Rookie of the Year and first-time All-Star, dazzled, at one point scoring 11 points in a row for Portland, hitting from deep and showing off his dunk-contest-worthy hops to finish an alley-oop.
"He's always being aggressive," said Jazz point guard Trey Burke. "He's always in attack mode. That's something I can take away from a young guard. He's always in attack mode. He always has the defense on their heels."
The Blazers scored 38 points in the final quarter to drop the Jazz to 19-35 on the season. It was Utah's second straight loss after winning three in a row before the All-Star break.
The fourth quarter was a hot finish for a game that started so cold.
The two teams combined to go 15 of 44 from the field in the first quarter. But in the second half, Burke got things going. The point guard scored 12 of his 21 points in the third quarter to help give the Jazz a lead going into the fourth. Burke finished with seven assists.
Without Aldridge and big men Joel Freeland and Meyers Leonard also out because of injury, Portland was undermanned and undersized at times. Jazz center Enes Kanter took advantage and finished with his 12th double-double of the year, going for career-high tying 25 points and 10 rebounds. He also had five assists.
But Portland's center, Robin Lopez, had a big night of his own. Lopez scored 12 points, grabbed 18 boards and blocked four shots.
"We just have to know how to finish the games," Kanter said.
Portland's defense, which has been knocked at times throughout the year, came through in the stretch, as the Blazers forced two shot clock violations and came up with key blocks and steals to help fuel the comeback.
Even without Aldridge, Jazz coach Ty Corbin knew what Portland was capable of.
"LaMarcus is a big part of what they do but we've got to make sure the perimeter guys especially now â¦ don't get what they want," he said before the game. "We have to make sure we don't relax against these guys. They're capable of scoring. They score in bunches."
The Blazers proved him correct. Ex-Jazz guard Wes Matthews scored 24 points and grabbed three rebounds. And former Jazzman Mo Williams came off the bench to score 13 points.
Utah got 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from Gordon Hayward. Alec Burks scored nine of his 12 points in the first half, ending a streak of three straight games with at least 20 points. Jazz starters Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson struggled to get going offensively, combining for just 12 points on the night.
The Jazz were without Derrick Favors for a second straight game. The 6-foot-10 forward and the anchor of the Utah defense has been dealing with a hip injury since mid-January. The Jazz are now 0-8 on the year when Favors does not play.
R Former Weber State star Damian Lillard scores 11 straight points for Portland in the fourth as the Blazers come back from down 9 to win.
• Enes Kanter scores 25 points and grabs 10 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the year.
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