Christmas Day Preview Friday Night At The Moda Center

by Casey Holdahl
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The Portland Trail Blazers (18-13) are more than a third of the way through their 2018-19 regular season schedule, though they have yet to play a longtime division rival, the Utah Jazz. But after going over two months without playing the Jazz, they'll do so twice in less than a week, with the first contest taking place Friday night at the Moda Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.


ALL TIME: Jazz lead, 100-85
IN PORTLAND: Trail Blazers lead, 63-30
AT THE JAZZ: Jazz lead, 70-22
LAST PORTLAND WIN: 102-93, 4/11/18 (Portland)
LAST JAZZ WIN: 115-96, 2/11/18 (Portland)


• Friday’s game marks the first of four meetings between the Trail Blazers and the Jazz during the 2018-19 season. The two teams split the season series in 2017-18, 2-2.

LAST MEETING: The Trail Blazers beat the Jazz, 102-93, at Moda Center on April 11, the final night of the 2017-18 regular season. Damian Lillard led all scorers with 36 points (13-25 FG, 4-10 3-PT, 6-6 FT) to go with 10 assists while Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio scored 17 points each to lead the Jazz.

OPPOSING FORCES: The Trail Blazers are seventh in the NBA in offensive rating (111.3) while the Jazz are eighth in defensive rating (105.8).

• In four games against the Jazz last season, Damian Lillard averaged 33.0 points (46.3% FG, 30.0% 3-PT, 100% FT), 4.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.00 steals. Lillard has scored at least 30 points in seven of his last 11 games against Utah, including a career-high 59 points on April 8, 2017.

• CJ McCollum averaged 20.8 points (40.7% FG, 41.7% 3-PT, 63.6% FT), 5.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists in four games against Utah during the 2017-18 season. McCollum made at least two three-pointers in each game against Utah last season.

• In four games against the Jazz last season, Jusuf Nurkic averaged 11.8 points (41.5% FG), 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.75 blocks. Nurkic recorded three-plus blocks three times against Utah in 2017-18.

• Donovan Mitchell averaged 23.3 points (37.5% FG, 33.3% 3-PT, 84.2% FT), 5.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.00 steal in four games against Portland last season.

• In four games against the Trail Blazers last season, Rudy Gobert averaged 14.0 points (50.0% FG, 75.0% FT), 10.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.50 blocks. Gobert has recorded a double-double in seven of his last eight games against Portland.

CONNECTION: Portland guard Gary Trent Jr. and Utah guard Grayson Allen were teammates at Duke during the 2017-18 season.

CONNECTION: Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard attended Weber State University, located 30 miles outside of Salt Lake City in Ogden, Utah. Weber State retired Lillard’s No. 1 jersey on August 26, 2017.


Trail Blazers forward Caleb Swanigan is probable with right knee soreness.

The Jazz will be without Grayson Allen (G League), Tony Bradley (G League), Tyler Cavanaugh (G League) and Naz Mitrou-Long (G League).


Friday's game can be seen locally on NBC Sports Northwest with Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam. NBC Sports Northwest also streams 76 live games during the 2018-19 Trail Blazers season. NBA League Pass will also carry the game, though blackouts based on location apply.

Brian Wheeler and Michael Holton will have the call on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations of the stations of the Trail Blazers Radio Network.


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