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Portland suffers road loss at Utah

  1. Written by: KevinHudson

    The Portland Trail Blazers continued their poor road play Monday, surrendering a double-digit lead to fall to division-rival Utah Jazz 93-89 in front of 19,328 at Energy Solutions Arena.

    "We simply got outworked. I mean, that’s what it comes down to. That team wanted it more than we did. It showed in their play," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "You’ve got to be hungry out here, especially on the road, and Utah wanted it more than we did tonight."

    Utah (12-7) was without the services of center Al Jefferson and guard Raja Bell but got key contributions from Derrick Favors with eight points, six rebounds in Jefferson's place while C.J. Miles poured in 15 points off the bench.

    "Guys that were available came out and played hard and stepped up real big tonight. Regardless if we’ve got Al or Mill (Millsap) or myself or C.J. going, we’ve got to get it to the hot man and that’s what we did overall. We stepped up and everybody played well," Jazz forward Josh Howard said.

    Portland (12-9) led early and by as many as 11 points, 41-30, when Raymond Felton's open three-pointer swished through with 4:37 left in the first half.

    Felton finished with a game-high seven assists and added eight points, four rebounds and two steals.

    A 9-4 Jazz run to end the half whittled the Portland lead to 45-39 at the break, though Portland pushed the lead back to 11 points thanks to a hot start to the second half for LaMarcus Aldridge, who made his first six shots of the third quarter to push the Portland lead to 63-52 with 5:32 left in the third.

    Aldridge finished with a game-high 25 points on 11-of-20 shooting while pulling down seven rebounds.

    A 17-7 run by Utah over the final five minutes of the third quarter closed the gap to a single point headed into the final stanza, where three consecutive three-pointers by Nicolas Batum opened the quarter and kept Portland out front, 79-74.

    Batum finished with 15 points off the bench on 5-of-9 from the field (4-of-5 from beyond the arc) but left the game after injuring his left knee late in the fourth quarter. Jamal Crawford added 14 in his reserve role while turning the ball over four times.

    The Trail Blazers five-point lead from Batum's third triple would be their largest of the fourth quarter. From there, Utah would score six in a row to take a 80-79 lead on Paul Millsap's jumper with 6:26 left in the game.

    Utah would never relinquish the lead, building it to as many as eight points before hanging on to secure the final margin.

    "Tremendous, tremendous team effort tonight," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "Things weren’t going well for us early. But we stayed together, kept encouraging each other and forcing each other to play a little harder, play a little harder. And we gave our self a chance in the end. It’s a great team win for us."

    Millsap led Utah with 19 points while pulling down a game-high 15 rebounds. The Jazz outrebounded the Trail Blazers 51-37, the first time since the return of Marcus Camby from a sprained ankle that Portland has been outrebounded by an opponent, breaking a streak of six games.

    Camby was in foul trouble early Monday and finished with six points, five rebounds and four blocked shots. Gerald Wallace led Portland with nine rebounds to go along with nine points and four assists.

    "I think we definitely have to value each possession from me to the last person. I think we have to value each possession more and I think we have to (have) more killer mindset," Aldridge said. "When we have somebody down we have to put our foot on their throat. I think we get too complacent sometimes and let them come back."

    Portland returns home to take on the Charlotte Bobcats at the Rose Garden Wednesday, 7 p.m. The game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

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