(Damian) Lillard and (CJ) McCollum are terrific. (Portland coach Terry Stotts) does as good a job or the best job of any coach in the league of utilizing his personnel. —Quin Snyder
PORTLAND, Ore. — Damian Lillard torched the Utah Jazz for 59 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 101-86. That total is a career high and the best in franchise history.
Utah's loss allows the Los Angeles Clippers (who defeated San Antonio 98-87 Saturday night) to catch the Jazz in the standings. The Clippers own the tiebreaker and would have home-court advantage in a 4-5 playoff matchup
The Jazz finish the season with at Golden State on Monday before returning home against the Spurs on Wednesday. The Clippers, meanwhile, host the Rockets and the Kings.
• Utah forward Joe Johnson scored 13 to become the 42nd NBA player to score 20,000 points. He currently has 20,006, putting him behind Antawn Jamison (20,042) and just ahead of Pau Gasol (19,966).
• Lillard outscored the Jazz 26-20 in the first quarter.
• The Jazz made just 6 of 19 3-pointers.
Records: Jazz (49-31), fourth place; Portland (40-40), eighth place
Utah: Hayward scored 21 points a day after scoring a career-high 39 against Minnesota.
Portland: It was the Lillard show. The former Wildcat scored 47 more than any of his teammates, shooting 9 of 14 from the 3-point line.
Utah: at Golden State, Monday, 8:30 p.m. (ROOT)
Portland: vs. San Antonio, Monday, 8:30 p.m.
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Utah Jazz clinched their first division title on Friday night thanks to their win over Minnesota and OKC's setback at Phoenix.
While winning the Northwest Division was nice and all, the team has their sights set on bigger and better things.
Finishing the season strong. Getting 50 wins. Holding onto the fourth seed and home-court advantage against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.
A win tonight against the Blazers will accomplish one of those — the Jazz are currently 49-30 — and would help the other two with less than a week left in the season.
Utah will, however, be shorthanded once again as point guard George Hill has not yet been cleared to return from his strained right groin injury.
Everybody else on the roster is available to play, including Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood and Raul Neto, whove all been dealing with their own health issues.
Favors and Hood will again come off the bench, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said in his pregame interview.
The Blazers, who are trying to fend off Denver for the last spot in the Western Conference playoffs, will be without backup guard Allen Crabbe.
Portland (39-40) has won three straight against Utah at the Moda Center and six of the last seven home games. The Jazz blasted the Blazers earlier this week, 106-87 Tuesday at Vivint Arena, but Snyder isnt thrilled that he has to play them again so soon.
"No. I dont like playing Portland all the time," Snyder said when asked if this quick turnaround can help the Jazz prepare of the playoffs.
He somewhat jokingly added, "We play them six times every year. When we do play them, we play them like three times in a week. Its hard. Its hard."
What makes it so hard?
"Them. Theyre good," Snyder responded when asked that question. "(Damian) Lillard and (CJ) McCollum are terrific. (Portland coach Terry Stotts) does as good a job or the best job of any coach in the league of utilizing his personnel."
One fun stat to watch for tonight: Utah forward Joe Johnson needs only seven more points to become the 42nd NBA player to score 20,000 points. He currently has 19,993, putting him behind Antawn Jamison (20,042) and just ahead of Pau Gasol (19,966).