The Utah Jazz players found themselves on the wrong end of history Friday as the Portland Trailblazers shot themselves into the record books. After keeping things within striking distance in the first half, Utah was simply throttled by a barrage of 3-pointers in the second that resulted in a 130-98 blowout for Portland.
The Trailblazers, one of the NBA’s biggest surprises, simply put on a basketball clinic. They poured it on the Jazz from the get-go, jumping out to a 39-22 first-quarter advantage. While Utah bounced back in the second quarter, the home team was never threatened. The Trailblazers trounced the Jazz in a 40-13 third period. When it was all said and done, Portland established a franchise record with 17 made 3-pointers.
Three Portland players scored 20 points or more, each toiling less than 30 minutes. Former Jazz guard Wesley Matthews continued his stellar play, notching 24 points. Weber State’s Damian Lillard, last season’s Rookie of the Year, scored all 21 of his points in the first half. And All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge showed why he is a legitimate MVP candidate, scoring 20 points on an array of offensive moves.
Alec Burks paced Utah with 16 points. With the loss, the Jazz once again have the worst record in the league.
Raining treys: Portland’s torrid shooting was consistently excellent all evening. This even continued when the deep reserves entered the game. The Trailblazers’ 17 treys came in just 23 attempts, a remarkable 73.9 percent.
Here is the run-down: Lillard was 5 of 6, while Matthews made 4 of 6. Forward Nicolas Batum went 3-3 and Dorell Wright and Allen Crabbe each drained two.
Utah matched Portland’s 50-points inside the paint and actually outscored the Trailblazers in terms of fast-break points, 17-14. It was the perimeter marksmanship that created the main separation. With Utah connecting on just four 3-pointers, Portland enjoyed a 39-point advantage from beyond the arc.
Youth is served: After some fine play of late, Utah’s young players had some rough patches. Trey Burke started out well but had a tough time sticking with Lillard defensively. He only logged 16 minutes. Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors were decent, but had -40 and -29 +/- marks respectively. And lastly, Enes Kanter only registered six points and two rebounds in 20 minutes.
The quartet spent the entirety of the fourth quarter watching from the bench.
Odds and ends:
• After not seeing much playing time recently, John Lucas III and Mike Harris both made the most of their playing time, each scoring 10 points in the second half. Likewise, Rudy Gobert had five points and seven rebounds in the fourth quarter.
• In efforts to improve a shallow bench from last season, Portland added veterans Robin Lopez, Mo Williams, Thomas Robinson and Wright. Each of them helped contribute to the Trailblazers’ evening.
• Brandon Rush had a season-high five points as he continues to get into the swing of things.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN.com's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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