Third verse, same as the second.
I'll be you've already forgotten about Deron's 3/4 court heave at the end of the first quarter, right? Without that miracle shot, the Jazz would have been down 7 after 1.
This game really wasn't the time to make a change in the starting lineup given that AK, CJ, Memo, and Elson (as we learned after the game) were out and not having a practice. It has to be something though that Sloan has to start looking at. Too many times have the Jazz gotten into a 7-10 point hole in the first and having to climb out of it the rest of the game. A recurring theme seems to be putting up a lot of jump shots and then getting burned in transition.
It's especially glaring on a night like tonight where the Jazz are short-handed and on the back end of a back to back on the road and you just don't have the depth to make another comeback.
After the Jazz tied the game up at 10, Portland went on a 9-0 run that included three missed threes by Utah and two turnovers. The second unit came in and got the lead back momentarily at 31-30. That's the last lead that they would have though.
Tonight it was too much LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews. The Jazz have no answer for Aldridge. He can go over Millsap and he can go around Jefferson. Fesenko did a pretty good job on him and if he wasn't altering shots, made Aldridge take more jumpers. He's earned more minutes and got them tonight. After averaging 8 on the year, he got 18 tonight, tied for his season high. Aldridge finished with 27 points on 10-18 shooting.
Matthews was a force on both ends. He had a career-high 30 (tied) and on efficient 16 field goal attempts along with 4 steals. I'm over Matthews now. What's done is done and his recent play had turned him into an enemy for me. It will probably always sting a bit but I'm openly rooting against him now and his self-imposed outrage over his contract from last summer. He's going to be a good player in the league for a while but I'm not going to lose sleep over it. If you have any feeling for Wesley, consider that when the game was decided, he jacked up three three-pointers before heading to the bench.
I mentioned in the game thread that sometimes it seems like the offense can't miss and other times I feel like the Jazz will never be able to put the ball in the basket ever again. The offense wasn't bad tonight though, when they could hang on to it. Their 18 turnovers compared to Portland's 9, is what did them in. They out-shot the Blazers from the field, 48% to 46%. Three-pointers and free-throws were pretty close. There was no one person to blame for the TOs. At least four players had three. Combine those with only 19 assists and that's a terrible ratio.
Credit the Blazers there. The Jazz are one of the best in the league at holding on to the ball but in their three games they've forced 18, 17, and 18 turnovers. The reason why they Jazz were able to win the first game and stay in the second was that they were able to do the same to Portland.
We won't see Portland again until April 7 at the ESA with a chance to split the season series.
- Two weird endings to the first and third quarters. As for the first, Patty Mills had the ball and the chance to get the last shot for the Blazers. They were up 7 at the time and could have put them up more. Instead, he took a shot early in the clock that was blocked, D will ended up with it, and banked the three-quarters court shot.
At the end of the third, Wesley Matthews airballed a corner three with about three second left on the shot clock and 4 second left in the game. The ball was batted around and ended up in Aldridge's hands. He put up a desperation shot but the replay showed that it was clearly after the shot clock had expired. The shot clock went blank because there was only about three-seconds left in the game, but there was no buzzer.
If that wasn't weird enough, a long full-court inbounds pass with 1.2 seconds on the clock to Jefferson resulted in free throws after he was able to fake a shot and jump into Aldridge for the foul.
- Marcus Camby's 20 rebounds were huge. They weren't the difference in the game though when you consider no one else for Portland had more than three and the Jazz out-rebounded them 39-34. He was taking boards from the other Blazers.
- Jeremy Evans continues to play well. He had a fantastic swat on Aldridge and four boards. He also had a nice hook shot over Camby. Hayward was also solid with 11 & 4 with one three.
- Would this have been a different game had they had Memo, AK, and CJ? Maybe. It would have given them more depth and a few more pairs of rested legs but I don't know if they would have helped with Aldridge. Hopefully we'll have everyone healthy the next time we play.
- Saturday is a new year.
- Check out Blazersedge's recap
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