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Turnover Differenential Hurts Trail Blazers In Loss To Jazz

04/01/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN

    The Portland Trail Blazers (33-41) and Utah Jazz (39-36) shot the lights out all night long, but the Trail Blazers were bitten by the turnover bug all night long. They lost in the the shootout 112-102. Wesley Matthews scored 23 points in the loss including four threes on the night.  Damian Lillard had a nice game of 17 points, five assists and five rebounds in his return to Utah. Lillard also broke the record for three-pointers made in a season in the first by a rookie, breaking the previous record set by Stephen Curry in the 2009-10 season.

    "It's an honor to be able to do that in my first season, but I wish I would have done it in a win. It's bittersweet," said Lillard of the record.

    Things didn't start out well for the Trail Blazers and it was, once again, tough for them to recover. After falling behind 7-0 and not being able to buy a bucket for the first three minutes of the game. The Jazz only continued to extend their first quarter lead, even getting it to has much as 14 in the early going. However, the Trail Blazers turned it over 16 times to Utah's six. Something you can ill-afford at any time, but especially when you are without your All-Star who makes things easier on both ends.

    "Possession of the ball was pretty important tonight if you look at the way we shot and look at the way they shot it," said Terry Stotts. "The turnovers and offensive rebounds (10-3 advantage for Utah) just gave them extra possessions and they were able to take advantage of it. They are playing at a good level right now, they are making a playoff push and I'll give them credit, especially here at home."

    However, Portland's young guys off the bench helped the Trail Blazers cut the Jazz lead and made things more interesting.

    Of the bench contributors, the two standouts tonight were certainly Eric Maynor and Victor Claver. Maynor had a solid 10 points and eight assists while Claver set a new career high with 12 points to go along with five assists. Both were very efficient from the field, but so was everybody. The Trail Blazers shot 58 percent from the field and 56.5 percent from  The problem was just that they didn't get enough shots off on the night for their efficiency to make a difference by the end of the game.

    Just about every Trail Blazers was sloppy with the ball too many times throughout the night and the Jazz were quick to capitalize on the extra opportunities to get easy buckets. The Trail Blazers 16 turnovers led to 19 Jazz points. The Jazz, already a good offensive team, don't need the extra opportunities to play well and it made Portland's task of getting the lead within distance that much more difficult.

    Al Jefferson scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Mo Williams scored 24 points and dished nine assists for the Jazz.

    The Jazz started the fourth quarter on a 10-4 run and essentially put the game away. Both teams, despite the fact that the Jazz led for much of the game, were incredibly efficient as the game had 87 possessions, which is rather low. So, it was not pace, but the efficiency of both teams that got the game into a high scoring range. The Trail Blazers squandered too many possessions with turnovers and were unable to get enough stops to truly erase their bad start. And unfortunately, it led to their fifth straight loss.

    However, Meyers Leonard continued to show more comfort on the offensive end, scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds and the playoff of Claver was certainly an encouraging sign that he is getting closer to full recovery.

    Lillard spoke about how the Trail Blazers must finish strong and Matthews emphasized the development of good habits over the last eight games.

    "I think as competitors, guys want to take on challenges," said Lillard. "That's definitely a challenge because a lot of teams on our schedule are teams that are right on the edge of being in or out of the playoffs. We definitely have an opportunity to be that team."

    "We need to develop good habits this last however many games we have. We can't lose games shooting 56-percent and having 16 turnovers. We need to take care of the ball, value the ball, and value defense so we have momentum going into next season," said Matthews.

    With that, the Trail Blazers get another crack at a team that challenged them and could challenge for the Western Conference title in the Memphis Grizzlies.

    The Trail Blazers comeback home on Wednesday when they start a five-game home stand against the Grizzlies. Tip-off will be at 7PM and it will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

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