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Trail Blazers fall to Jazz despite hot start

  1. Written by: KevinHudson  / avg. rating: 3.0

    The Portland Trail Blazers got off to a hot start Monday, in front of 20,050 at the Rose Garden, scoring 35 points in the first quarter only to eventually succumb, 102-97, to the Utah Jazz.

    "I thought we forgot who we were in the second and third and just didn’t make enough basketball plays down the stretch," said Portland coach Kaleb Canales.

    Portland (25-29) held a 13-point advantage after shooting 65 percent from the field in the first quarter, including 5-of-6 from three-point range (83.3 percent).

    The Trail Blazers remained hot from behind the arc in the second quarter, clinging to a 3-point lead, 57-54, headed into the half based on 9-of-13 from long range.

    Wes Matthews rung up 19 points in the half and would go on to score a game-high 33 points for the Trail Blazers, followed by LaMarcus Aldridge with 27 points.

    Utah (28-26) heated up its inside game in the second half as the Trail Blazers began to cool from the field, with Paul Milsap scoring eight of his team-high 31 points during a 15-3 Jazz run to open the third quarter that gave them their largest lead of the game at 71-60.

    "I thought our defensive identity – we just kind of forgot who we are," Canales said. "I thought our defense and rebounding was very, very good to start the game and we just didn’t carry it over as the game went on. They made a great run there to finish the half and to start the third quarter. I felt they responded and you have to give them credit."

    Utah outscored Portland in the paint 56-34 in the contest, including 13-6 in second chance points.

    The Trail Blazers chipped into the Jazz lead down the stretch, cutting it to one point on JJ Hickson's putback slam with 1:31 to play in the third period. Utah extended to a seven-point lead midway through the final stanza, only to see Portland come charging back again, as Aldridge's turnaround jumper tied the game at 94-94 with three minutes remaining in the contest.

    Matthews buried a three-pointer the next time down the floor for the Trail Blazers to grab their first lead of the fourth quarter, 97-94, but those points would be their last as the Jazz finished on a 8-0 run for the final margin.

    Utah got a trio of double-doubles led by Milsap with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Al Jefferson notched 13 points, 10 boards and Derrick Favors finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds off the Jazz bench.

    Nicolas Batum logged the lone Trail Blazers double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

    Portland wraps up its three-game homestand against the New Jersey Nets Wednesday, 7 p.m., at the Rose Garden. The game can be seen locally 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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