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The Roundup—Jazz break out of slump, beat Blazers in SLC
For more than half of Friday night's game—thanks in large part to yet another sizzling start by Portland's Damian Lillard—it looked like the Utah Jazz were on their way to their sixth straight loss.
But then the third quarter started and Utah turned it on in a big way, eliminating a 16-point deficit en route to a dramatic, controversial and much-needed 117-114 victory over the Blazers in Salt Lake City.
Lillard made his first seven shots—including four 3-pointers—and scored 25 of his game-high 42 points in the first half as Portland raced to a 72-58 lead at the break.
"We didn't do anything very well in the first half," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "There are times when you have to change what you're doing, and there are times when you have to dig in and compete and do it better."
The Jazz certainly did it better in the second half, especially on the defensive end as they held Portland to only 34.0 percent shooting over the final two quarters.
Bojan Bogdanović led the Jazz with 27 points, while Rudy Gobert double-doubled with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Mike Conley (18 points), Donovan Mitchell (16 points, six rebounds, seven assists, two steals), Joe Ingles (14 points) and Jordan Clarkson (13 points) also scored in double figures in the win.
"It was a really tough game," Bogdanović said. "We didn't start the game how we were supposed to, but in the second half we started to play defense and finally got the win, and that's great for us."
The Jazz (33-18) got back in the game with 17-5 run in the third quarter, and then the teams went neck and neck until the final horn. With Utah up by two after a layup by Mitchell with 19.5 seconds remaining, Lillard drove in and banked the ball off the glass, where it was swatted away by Gobert. No goaltending was called, and Bogdanović hit a free throw on the other end. A 3-point attempt by Caleb Swanigan came up just short at the buzzer, giving the Jazz their first win since January 25.
Lillard finished with 42 points on 16-for-30 shooting, and he added six rebounds, six assists, a steal and two blocks in 43 minutes. He played all but 20 seconds of the second half.
"Damian Lillard, he's a special, special player," Snyder said. "Everybody's got a job to do, and he's so good that if one person doesn't do his job he makes you pay. He may make you pay anyway even if you do your job and do it well."
CJ McCollum scored 27 points, while Gary Trent Jr. pitched in 16 points in 38 minutes off the bench for the Blazers (24-29).
Friday's Best: Bojan Bogdanović
Bogdanović shot 10-for-16 from the field, including 2-for-6 from three, and finished with 27 points, four rebounds and two steals in 34 minutes. He had two huge buckets—a spinning layup and a pull-up jumper in the lane—down the stretch, and he's now scored at least 25 points 16 times this season. The Jazz are 13-3 in those games.
Bojan with a team-high 27 pointspic.twitter.com/JPPLkuTdbK— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 8, 2020
After trailing by 10 points in the first quarter, Utah came back to take a one-point lead before the Blazers closed the first half on a 14-2 run.
The Jazz, though, owned the third quarter. A Blazers bucket pushed the margin to 16 before Conley hit a three and put in a layup. A 3-pointer by Ingles forced a Portland timeout. A bucket by Gobert, four more points by Conley—on two free throws and a layup—and a 3-pointer by Mitchell capped a 17-5 Utah run and pulled the Jazz within four midway through the period.
craft·y— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 8, 2020
eg. mike conley's layup shown herepic.twitter.com/4ssF7tGRkG
An 8-0 Utah run—featuring a dunk by Clarkson, two layups by Bogdanović and another by Mitchell—cut the deficit to one, and then, with just over a minute left in the third period, a three by Ingles gave the Jazz their first lead since midway through the second quarter.
A back-and-forth fourth quarter set up a dramatic finish as a dunk by Gobert, a three by Bogdanović, and a putback layup by Gobert gave the Jazz a seven-point lead—their largest of the game—midway through the final period. A three by Lillard, though, got Portland going again. Two more threes by McCollum kept the Blazers close, but the Jazz made several key plays down ther stretch. Ingles converted a 3-point play, and Royce O'Neale swished a corner three after an offensive rebound and nifty pass by Gobert. An off-balance three by Lillard tied the game with just over a minute left, but Bogdanović answered with a driving layup. Lillard hit a floater to tie it back up, and then Mitchell drove in for a go-ahead layup with 19.5 seconds remaining.
just like we drew it uppic.twitter.com/2AIatmExX9— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 8, 2020
This game was a tale of two halves as the Jazz outgunned a tired Portland squad in the final 24 minutes. The Blazers, who beat San Antonio on Thursday night, shot 57.4 percent in the first half but only 34.0 percent after the break. Lillard and McCollum combined for 43 points on 16-for-24 (66.7 percent) shooting in the first half, but the duo managed only 26 points on 10-for-29 (34.5 percent) shooting in the third and fourth quarters.
The Jazz owned the low post, outrebounding the Blazers 56-43 and outscoring them in the paint 66-40. Utah took advantage of Hassan Whiteside's absence. Portland's starting center leads the NBA in blocks (3.1) and ranks third—right behind Gobert—in rebounds (14.1) per game.
The game featured five technical fouls—three on Portland and two on Utah. Portland's Trevor Ariza blew up at one of the referees after a perceived no-call and was immediately ejected early in the second quarter. Later in the same period, O'Neale and Carmelo Anthony got tangled up under the hoop. Anthony took exception and confronted O'Neale, and both players were eventually T'd up. Finally, Mitchell and Trent picked up double technicals for jawing at each other as the first half ended.
Ingles had failed to reach double figures in scoring in six straight games. ... This was Lillard's seventh 40-point game this season, which tied a franchise record. ... Ed Davis (back spasms) did not suit up for the Jazz. ... Whiteside (leg), Anfernee Simons (concussion), Jusuf Nurkic (leg), Zach Collins (shoulder), Nassir Little (ankle) and Rodney Hood (Achilles) did not play for the Blazers. ... The game featured eight ties and 16 lead changes. ... Utah outscored Portland 20-8 in transition. ... O'Neale grabbed 10 rebounds. ... The Jazz are 19-5 at home this season.
The Jazz will hit the road to face the Houston Rockets on Sunday night. Tipoff is set for 5:00pm MT.
Utah's next home game is on Wednesday night against the Miami Heat at 7:00pm MT.