SALT LAKE CITY — For the second time in a week, the Utah Jazz cruised by the Portland Trail Blazers, this time winning 117-96 on Tuesday in Vivint Arena. The Jazz have now won 3 of 4 overall.
Here are the four takeaways from the Jazz's first Christmas Day game since 1997:
• Donovan Mitchell struggled the last time the Jazz faced Portland, making just 1 of 10 shots for three points. He responded with a first half where he made 6 of 11 shots to lead the Jazz with 14 points at the break — none bigger than his astounding alley-oop dunk in the first quarter.
• The Jazz started ice cold from free-throw and 3-point lines. Utah missed six of its first eight freebies while missing its first eight shots from beyond the arc. The team recovered 16 of their next 23.Comment on this story
• Rudy Gobert dominated the paint with 11 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high seven blocks. However, the most impressive block came when he was resting on the bench. Ekpe Udoh, filling in for Derrick Favors, who was out with foul trouble, blocked a Collins dunk attempt. Crowder finished a layup at the other end in the middle of the second quarter to spark a 9-0 run that gave the Jazz the lead for good.
• The Jazz improve to 17-18 on the season and are just two games out of the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. The Blazers fall to 19-16 and sixth place.
Next 3 games
- Thursday, Dec. 27 vs. Philadelphia (22-13), 8:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 29 vs. New York (9-26), 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, Jan. 1 at Toronto (25-10), 5:30 p.m.