SALT LAKE CITY—Winter is approaching in Salt Lake, and the Jazz struggled to start a cold offensive engine. While Utah (2-2) struggled to find rhythm and timing, the Portland Trail Blazers’ (3-2) backcourt clobbered the Jazz to the tune of a 108-92 win in Utah’s first home game of the young NBA season.
Former Weber State star Damian Lillard received a warm welcome from the Jazz faithful in pregame introductions. He quickly quieted the same crowd by dropping 19 points in the first quarter. Lillard finished with 35 points, making 14-of-27 field goal attempts, including 5 three-pointers.
Equal in step with Lillard was fellow guard CJ McCollum, who finished with 27 points. The two accounted for 57% of the Blazers’ offense. Jazz guard Trey Burke led his team in scoring for most of the game, mainly out of necessity, as Utah struggled to ignite their offense. Burke finished 3rd in scoring for the Jazz with 17 points, behind Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward, who scored 21 and 19, respectively.
The Jazz produced defensively in the front court, blocking 8 Portland shots, including 4 from Rudy Gobert. Gobert and fellow big man Derrick Favors combined for 14 points.
Utah made one final push with a 7-0 run between 8- and 6-minutes left in the 4th quarter. Immediately after a Portland timeout, Lillard sunk an 18-foot jump shot. The steam was taken out of the arena when the Jazz forced a missed Lillard jumper, but Maurice Harkless weaved his way to an offensive rebound and a putback to put the Blazers ahead, 99-88.
The Jazz will head to Denver to face the Nuggets (2-2) tomorrow night at the Pepsi Center at 7:00.
Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder Postgame:
Jazz Forward Gordon Hayward Postgame:
Jazz Center Rudy Gobert Postgame:
Jazz Guard Trey Burke Postgame:
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