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The Roundup—Jazz fall in Portland as Lillard drops 51
Utah's rough stretch continued Saturday night with a 124-107 loss to the Blazers in Portland.
The Jazz jumped out to a double-digit lead within the first nine minutes, but Damian Lillard helped the Blazers close the first half on a 15-0 run to give them a 10-point advantage at the break.
Utah (32-17) cut that deficit to three in the second half—thanks to back-to-back threes from Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanović—but was never able to climb all the way back.
Lillard made sure of that, scoring 51 points on 17-for-29 shooting, including 9-for-15 from beyond the arc, while also dishing out 12 assists.
"He's a player who's playing at a level where you have to react to him and what he's doing. We just didn't execute the things that we were wanting to do," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "Our execution defensively has to be better. It has been. I think it will be. When you play a player like that, you have bring your level up. If he scores, he scores. But tonight he scored and he also had assists. He was able to do what he wanted."
Donovan Mitchell bounced back from a tough outing Thursday night in Denver to lead the Jazz with 25 points, while Bogdanović and Mike Conley added 22 points each.
Jordan Clarkson (12 points) also scored in double figures in the loss.
Hassan Whiteside double-doubled with 17 points, 21 rebounds and three blocks in the win for the Blazers (23-27).
Saturday's Best: Mike Conley
Back in the starting lineup for the first time since December 17, Conley got going early with 11 points in the first quarter. He finished with 22 points, the most he's scored since he had 27 on November 22 against the Warriors. Conley got into the lane for floaters, sank pull-up jumpers, and shot 4-for-6 from beyond the arc, and he added four rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes.
Like every other team right now, the Jazz had no answer for Lillard. The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week is now averaging 45.1 points—on 53.2 percent shooting—and 7.1 threes over his last eight games.
For the second straight game, the Jazz suffered through lengthy periods where they couldn't score. Portland went on runs of 12-0 in the first quarter, 15-0 in the second quarter, and 13-0 in the third quarter as they eventually pulled away for the victory. On Thursday night, the Nuggets went on a 27-1 run in the second half in a game that was—for the other 40 minutes, at least—dominated by the Jazz.
Utah shot it better from 3-point range (43.9 percent) than from inside the arc (41.5 percent). The Jazz made 18 threes, with Bogdanović (5-for-9), Conley (4-for-6), Clarkson (4-for-8) and Mitchell (3-for-6) each making multiple triples. Bogdanović has now made at least five 3-pointers 11 times this season.
The Jazz have now lost four straight games. ... Rudy Gobert finished with six points, 11 rebounds and three blocks for the Jazz. ... Ingles led Utah with five assists. ... Portland was consistent, scoring at least 30 (but no more than 33) points in each quarter. ... Utah shot 42.6 percent from the field. Portland shot 51.1 percent. ... The Blazers outrebounded the Jazz 51-37.
The Jazz will return home to face the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night. Tipoff is set for 7:00pm MT.