The Utah Jazz finally played their first home game of the season, only to be set on fire by the hot shooting of Portland Trail Blazers guards and . It was a close game in the first quarter, however the Blazers torched the Jazz 30-23 in the second quarter, and again 32-24 in the fourth. The end result was a 108-92 victory for the bad guys. Damian Lillard finished with 35 points (27 shots), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Backcourt mate C.J. McCollum added 27 points (13! shots), 4 assists, and 1 rebound. Together they went a combined 8 for 16 (50%) from downtown and predated on the Jazz defense in the pick and roll. Jazz defenders , , , , and even all were ineffective guarding them, and frequently got lost beneath the screen -- allowing for wide open jumpers. The only player who really had any success was , who finished a +2 in +/-.
It really *was* those two Blazers torching the Jazz for the most part, but Utah was incapable of stopping their inside players either.finished with 12 and 16, and fowards and both scored in double figures. I don't expect this Jazz team to give up 108 points a lot, especially not at home. Portland played very hard and earned this win. They had 48 rebounds, 13 on the offensive end, and got to the free throw line 32 times on the road. They did not play the most perfect game, as they turned the ball over 19 times and shot 46.9% from the free throw line (leaving 17 points there) -- but they played to win, and did.
For the Jazz, yes,was playing while sick with the flu, but what is everyone else' excuse? Countless times the Jazz players saw the ball bounce on the ground in 50/50 situations, and did not show the hustle or desire it takes to win. They did not play with the edge they played with on their road trip. Gordon Hayward continues to shoot abysmally, this time 7/20. Raul Neto did hit two more threes, but finished with zero assists, and did not shoot outside of the spot up situations he was in. (So we are seeing more of this year than we thought). Rodney Hood was a bright spot, however foul trouble kept him out of Portland's way.
Off the bench Trey Burke and Alec Burks combined for 38 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and went a combined 13/17 from the free throw line. The Jazz bench was better, but Portland only played four guys. Utah played seven bench players.
As a team the Jazz shot .375 / .208 / .636. That's not good enough to win, even if you are at home.
I'm not happy with this loss, but better to have these types of effort losses early in the season instead of down the stretch. It's a game the team will learn from. It's a game the coaches will teach from. And hopefully, it's a game we will not see again anytime soon.