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Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers report card

Published: Thursday, April 26 2012 10:09 p.m. MDT

GUARDS: It was a light duty night for starters Devin Harris and Gordon Hayward. Neither guard played after the first quarter, and it was a well-earned break before the playoffs. Alec Burks, Jamaal Tinsley and Blake Ahearn all did a nice job of filling in for them with Burks scoring a career-high. Former Jazzman Wesley Matthews couldn't buy a basket in his former arena, with his costliest miss coming as time expired. (Ahearn's tackle, of course, helped him miss.) Rookie Nolan Smith was outstanding in the second half for Portland.

Grade: B+

FORWARDS: Derrick Favors played well after being named a last-minute replacement for Paul Millsap in the starting lineup. Interestingly, he showed that he's probably most effective when Millsap and Al Jefferson are on the court with him. DeMarre Carroll played hard and made hustle plays, but shot terribly, scoring just three points in nearly 23 minutes. Luke Babbitt shot and missed too many 3's for Portland. J.J. Hickson was one of the game's best players, scoring 20 points with nine rebounds.

Grade: C+

CENTERS: Jefferson didn't play after the first quarter, and there was no reason for him to risk injury. Still, he scored more points and had the same amount of rebounds as Portland counterpart Joel Przybilla. Enes Kanter, who was wildly entertaining in thanking fans just before tip-off, had a solid game with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes.

Grade: A-

BENCH: The Jazz bench did most of the work for the team. Jeremy Evans gave Utah a lift with his first career double-double and was one of four reserves to score in double figures. Portland, meanwhile, brought just three players off the bench. Jonny Flynn had some good and bad moments for the Trail Blazers, but overall Utah's bench was far superior.

Grade: A

OVERALL: The game may have resembled a Summer League contest at times, but the Jazz got what they needed out if it -- and fans were able to see an exciting finish. The rookies and younger players got a chance to close out the game and pull out a victory while the veterans watched. The veterans rested. No one got hurt. There's nothing negative to take from this game for Utah, which moves on to bigger and better things -- a first-round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs.

Grade: A

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