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EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Lillard’s career night overwhelms the Jazz
By David Locke, Utah Jazz
Summary: Damian Lillard scores a Blazers franchise record 59 points and torches the Jazz on the way to a 101-86 win over the Utah.
- There was a really cool moment after the game when Damian Lillard was offered the game ball and declined, instead saying that it should go to Joe Johnson who scored his 20,000th point tonight. Really classy move from a great guy in the NBA.
- In the Jazz’s two wins in SLC against the Blazers, Utah controlled Damian Lillard. Tonight, Lillard got going early and he was unstoppable. He had 26 points in the first quarter and then after a scoreless second quarter, he ignited again and scored 21 in the third before finishing with 59 points.
- Lillard went 18 of 34 from the floor, 9 of 14 from 3, and 14 of 16 from the line.
- Lillard was the only Blazer to go to the line. His missed free throws at the end of the game were the first misses against the Jazz in two games.
- The Jazz had a good strategy against Lillard in the last matchup where they picked him up high enough that they were able to get under the pick and still stay in front of him. Tonight, they couldn’t do that.
- Lillard had three free throws to get to 60 but made just 1 of 3.
- The Jazz battled and got the game within four points a few times, but were never able to maintain its surge.
- The Blazers had a brutal stretch in the second quarter where they shot 4 of 18 and the Jazz were unable to take advantage in that stretch. That was the stretch of the game where the Jazz missed the opportunity to get back in the game.
- The game had three minutes without a field goal on both ends. Dante had back-to-back brutal turnovers and Ingles and Gobert missed shots. Exum hit a free throw to break the drought and then Hayward scored before Exum had another turnover, then Exum missed a three. Over 6:30, the Blazers scored two points and the Jazz only cut into the lead by four.
- Portland did a nice job of cutting off the Gobert roll to the basket. The Jazz will need to be able to take advantage of this in the playoffs.
- Raul Neto played the best point guard minutes by far, but got a severely sprained ankle. The Jazz were +14 in Neto’s 13 minutes and -29 when he was off the floor.
- The Jazz need to be good when Gobert is off the floor and tonight, they were -12 in the 14 minutes he sat.
- Joe Johnson went over 20,000 career points.
- Rudy Gobert became the first Jazz player and the 12th in NBA history to have 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 200 blocks in a single season.
- CJ McCollum was 4 of 20.
- The Blazers switched everything and Noah Vonleh ended up guarding out on the floor on the Jazz’s ball handlers. Utah didn’t take advantage of that matchup the same way they were able to in SLC.
- This was a special night for one of the good guys in the league, but with the Clippers win tonight the Jazz are now in 5th in the West and will have to win out and bank on the Clippers losing one of their two final home games if the Jazz plan to get home court advantage.