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Portland Trail Blazers 115 Utah Jazz 111 Game Recap: Strong start, poor finish


Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz lost to the Portland Trail Blazers 115-111 tonight. It was, moreso than many other games this year, a game of runs. Utah looked good, determined, and focused in the first quarter and were holding onto a good, solid lead until Portland stormed back and went on a 7-0 run to finish the half. Instead of being down by double digits the team that had just most recently felled the Golden State Warriors were down by five. The Jazz came out in the third with some fire and wanted to re-take control of the game -- and did so -- only for the Blazers to come back again. Leading by 2 on the road the Jazz had to take care of business over the next 12 minutes. Down the stretch they did not. There were multiple lead changes and ties, and with only seconds left Gordon Hayward got the mismatch and scored. He tied the game 109-109; while doing the first part of a 2 for 1 finish for the Jazz.

Damian Lillard scored on a "too easy" play on the other side to put his guys up by 2. Utah had the ball back with a little under 24 seconds, but failed to do anything good with it. It was free throws all the day down. Utah loses, loses the season series to Portland 3-1, and the playoff push is going to be a little harder now.

Lillard and backcourt mate C.J. McCollum finished with 61 points in this game, pushing their four game total to 191 points. And remember Lillard only played in three of the four games. (Guess which one the Jazz won?) The Blazers bigs were huge on the offensive glass, which is not new -- it's something they've been doing all season long. They collected 23 offensive rebounds off of their 50 misses. That's nearly 50%. That's not supposed to happen on a team that has Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, and others. Those extra chances nullified the Jazz finishing the game shooting 50 FG% and 50 3PT% for the game.

It would have been nice for the Jazz to win this one. But they did not. There was a huge bright spot with new Jazzman point guard Shelvin Mack. Mack came off the bench and played half the game. He was very efficient and effective with his time on the court and with the ball in his hands. If he were here for defense, having those two guys score 61 points in this game means he didn't really have the effect we expected. Still tho! Shelvin was great in his first game wearing the #8 for Utah, he finished with 16 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and led the team in +/- with +14.

Gordon Hayward had a 21 / 5 / 3 / 4 game where he went 9/10 from the free throw line. Derrick Favors added 22 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assists, and shot 50 FG%. Rodney Hood splashed for 18 points, while adding 3 more rebounds and 2 more assists to his season total. Rudy Gobert was in a bad situation all game and his double-double streak ended today with only 7 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 5 blocks. Ho-hum!

This game sets the Jazz back a bit, who are currently out of the West playoffs. They have to lick their wounds and start a three game home stand of Tuesday. They will host the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Brooklyn Nets -- each with a day's rest between them.