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Trail Blazers slide reaches four with loss to Jazz

04/19/12
  1. Written by: KevinHudson  / avg. rating: 2.5


    The Portland Trail Blazers finished their home schedule with a fourth consecutive loss, 112-91 to the Utah Jazz, Wednesday, in front of 20,545 at the Rose Garden.

    "It’s a tough time with that being game one of the season or the last game of the season, it’s tough any time," said Portland coach Kaleb Canales. "I’ll continue to say it. I believe it – we do have the best fans in the world. It’s been a challenging season for us but we appreciate what they mean to us."

    Portland (28-35) trailed by as many as 11 points but was was able creep back up on the playoff-contending Jazz by the end of the first period, entering the second stanza trailing 26-23.

    The second quarter was the hinge on which the game swung, as Utah (33-30) finished the half on a 16-4 run to extend their lead to 57-39 behind 11 second-quarter points from Devin Harris, who led all scorers in the game with 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including 6-of-10 from three-point range.

    The Trail Blazers would get no closer than 18 points and the Jazz would extend to as many as 27 points in the second half before settling for the final margin.

    "They hit 10 threes. I think that extended our defense and we started concerning ourselves with the three point line which allowed them to get their post ups. I thought their post up positions for the most part, they got easy catches. We tried to scramble our defense there," Canales said. "They’re a good team playing good basketball. You have to give them credit."

    Portland was led by Wesley Matthews with 21 points and nine rebounds, followed by JJ Hickson, Nolan Smith and Luke Babbitt with 16 points each. Hickson added nine rebounds to lead the Trail Blazers on the boards and Jonny Flynn dished a game-high seven assists to go along with 11 points.

    Smith and Hasheem Thabeet got the start for Portland in the absence of Raymond Felton and Joel Przybilla, Thabeet tallying a season-high six rebounds to go along with four points and two blocked shots.

    Gordon Hayward followed Harris for Utah with 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting while Al Jefferson notched the game's only double-double with 11 points, 10 boards.

    Portland heads out on the road for its final three games of the season, starting at Memphis, Saturday, 5 p.m., against the Grizzlies. 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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