Another year, another final game preview for the regular season. The Jazz end their season in Portland after taking the Warriors to the woodshed at home last night. The 40-point loss was the worst in Warriors history. The Portland Trailblazers come into their home finale on the tail end of a four-game road skid at the hands of the Texas Trio and the Nuggets. Make no mistake, though, the Trail Blazers are dangerous. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum can carve up nearly any defense, and Terry Stotts is a quality coach. They’ve been almost as hot as the Jazz in the last two months.
In the season series, the Jazz won two games, 112-103 (OT) and 115-96. The Blazers took one, 100-81. This should refresh your memory:
When: Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2018 • 8:30 PM MT
Where: Moda Center • Portland, OR
TV: NBC Sports Northwest, AT&T Sports Net - Rocky Mountain
Radio: Rip City Radio 620, 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
Thabo Sefolosha - MCL avulsion, out for the season
Dante Exum - Soreness in lower left leg (likely precautionary)
Portland Trail Blazers:
Moe Harkless - Knee, surgery
What To Watch For:
In the last game against the Warriors, with 186 three-pointers made, Donovan broke Damian Lillard’s Rookie of the Year-winning season record for most 3s made by a rookie (185).
Granted he’s only shooting them at a rate of 33.9%, after undergoing a bit of a cold spell post-All Star Break, shooting only 29.1% in March and 30.9% post-All Star break, but his continued high-level offensive production - 22.8 points per game on 19 shots and virtually the same true shooting percentages (54.4% vs 54.7% pre/post ASB) means he’s finding ways to get things done regardless if he’s feeling it from long range. So many numbers and statistics have been thrown around about our guy, from fourth quarter scoring to leading playoff teams in scoring, but he really deserves all of it and more. Watch out, league.
Most Likely Jazz-Killer: Damian Lillard
Remember when Devin Harris was our point guard? Look, Devin was a good dude, but I felt like I’d write the same thing in every comment thread: “Oh, well, we’re going up against José Calderon. I dunno if our point guards can keep up.”
Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell, and Royce O’Neal are more than capable of locking down opposing backcourts, unless those backcourts have players named Dennis Schroder. Or, possibly, Damian Lillard. In the matchups against the Jazz this season, he has put up 33, 39, and 24 points. He’s simply a fantastic player. Not just a Jazz killer, really—he’ll torch any team.
Usually our definition of “Jazz killer” is a random player like Linas Kleiza who goes off against us for no reason. Shooting from the hip here, but if a player goes off against us unexpectedly, my money is on Al-Farouq Aminu.
Should be a fun one.
GO JAZZ GO!