PORTLAND, OREGON – Damian Lillard had 21 points and 10 assists, and the Portland Trail Blazers shook off a slow first half to beat the Utah Jazz 99-85 on Wednesday night.
CJ McCollum added 15 points and eight assists for the Blazers, who led by as many as 20 in the second half after the teams traded the lead in the first. It was Portland’s second consecutive victory following a three-game losing streak.
Gordon Hayward had 19 points for Utah, which had won two straight. The Jazz, who were coming off an 86-74 victory over the Lakers in Los Angeles, have not strung together three consecutive wins this season.
Jazz centre Rudy Gobert, playing in his fourth game since missing 18 with a sprained left knee, had three points and eight rebounds. But Utah remained without Derrick Favours, who missed his 11th game because of a sore back. He was listed as questionable before the game.
The Blazers were coming off a 115-110 victory Monday over Oklahoma City, notable because Lillard scored 17 points including five 3-pointers in the last 3:07. He has played in five games since missing seven with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
The teams kept it close in a rather lacklustre first half, with neither one able to extend its advantage into double digits.
There was a scary moment midway through the first quarter when Hayward was slow to get up after it appeared he took an elbow. Hayward signalled to come out, but remained on Utah’s bench, and several minutes later returned to the game.
Gobert elbowed Mason Plumlee late in the first half for a flagrant foul.
Gerald Henderson’s 3-pointer gave the Blazers a 37-30 lead, their biggest of the game to that point. Portland led 43-37 at halftime, paced by Henderson’s 10 points off the bench.
Lillard’s 3-pointer gave Portland a 51-39 lead, which it pushed to 70-54 on a 3 and a long jumper from Meyers Leonard.
Jazz: Chris Johnson played for 7:31 in the first half but did not return for the second because of viral gastroenteritis, the team said.
Trail Blazers: The team honoured the Portland Timbers for winning the MLS Cup. In his pregame session with reporters, coach Terry Stotts wore a Timbers scarf. Lillard had four 3-pointers.
YOU MAD, BRO?
Former Jazz guard and current analyst Raja Bell caused a stir by suggesting to CBSsports.com that Hayward might benefit by leaving Utah. “They’ll never get rid of Gordon,” Bell said, “but for his sake I would hope they’d let him go and see what it’s like to play in other places in the NBA where they do things a little more professionally and are up with the times. Forgive me, Utah.” Jazz coach Quin Snyder expressed surprise at Bell’s comments, saying he did not know the split was acrimonious. “I don’t understand why he would say that. I don’t. He can say what he wants. I just don’t get it,” Snyder said.