It was a very merry Christmas in Salt Lake City as the Utah Jazz defeated the Portland Trail Blazers _-_. Santa came early and Santa came late by delivering one more Christmas gift for Jazz fans. A Silent Night it was not, as the Jazz crowd rocked the Vivint all night long.
Other than a highlight alley oop finished by Donovan Mitchell, the first quarter was one of missed opportunities for the Jazz. They went 0/8 from three and only 2/8 from the line. That’s not the ideal way to play the game of basketball. Fortunately, the game was all tied up at 24 a piece. Certainly that poor shooting wouldn’t continue throughout the entire game right?
Sure enough, Jae Crowder got the 2nd quarter scoring started of with a 3 for Utah. After Derrick Favors got himself into some early foul trouble in the first quarter, Ekpe Udoh did as he always does and provided great bench minutes when called on. Remember when he said he was one of the best defenders in the world? He reminded the Blazers in a very personal way by putting them on his naughty list.
The Jazz owned the paint all night, with 32 points in the paint in the first half alone. Damian Lillard wasn’t going to go down easy, pouring in 16 points by halftime. The Jazz, however, were able to create a little separation and had a 12 point leading going into the break. They Jingled all the Bell by going 5/6 from three in the quarter.
The good guys picked up where they left off in the 2nd half with a quick 9-4 run to go up 15. After that, it was beginning to look a lot like Halloween rather than Christmas as the two teams traded bad shots and ugly turnovers. The scoring finally picked up late in the quarter, especially after back to back threes by the Splash Uncles. After 3 the Jazz added one point to their halftime lead, 83-70.
I feel like it’s unfair to have not mentioned Rudy Gobert yet. He was an absolute beast tonight!! He took the Blazer’s feast, he took the Blazer pudding, he took the roast beast! He even took the last can of Blazer hash with _ blocks on the night! It was amazing to watch him in his prime defensive form.
You guys give up, or are you thirsty for more? pic.twitter.com/ZuLFXUYqHN— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) December 26, 2018
Even with a 13 point lead heading into the 4th quarter it always felt like the Blazers could go on a run and make things interesting. Every time the Jazz extended the lead, the Blazers would respond and climb back into it. With 9:30 left they were able to offering it to single digits for the first time all half. That was with Dame and CJ McCollum on the bench. In the end, the Jazz made another push and won going away. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Player of the Game:
Rudy Gobert: 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 blocks, and a partridge in a pair tree.