SALT LAKE CITY – The intensity level for Friday’s game may have been at an all-time high for both the Trail Blazers and the Jazz.
Fans needed to buckle up for this one!
The Trail Blazers frontcourt depth was even more depleted entering Friday's game. Portland was without starting center Hassan Whiteside (left lower leg contusion) and backup forward Nassir Little (left ankle sprain).
Going with a small-ball lineup was no easy task against Rudy Gobert and the Jazz lengthy perimeter players like Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic.
Despite the lack of height, the Blazers started out the game 23-14 behind Damian Lillard’s logo three-pointers.
It was apparent in the second quarter that these are two very competitive teams who tend to get under each other’s skin. A total of seven technical fouls were handed out in the second quarter alone, which included one three in the key violation.
But, even after losing one of their starters to an ejection, the Blazers still held a 72-58 lead at halftime.
Throughout the game it felt like a fight could break out at any moment.
After being outscored 30-17 in the third quarter, Portland held a one point lead heading into the final period.
The game came down to the wire with Utah's crowd fired up from start to finish. There was a questionable no-call as well when Lillard when up for a lay-in in the final seconds and there was no goal-tending called.
THIS IS GOALTENDING!!!! pic.twitter.com/w3qxAvMbmt— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) February 8, 2020
The Blazers gave it all that they had with just seven players for most of the game on the second night of a back-to-back, but it was the Jazz who came away with the win.
Here are three quick takeaways from Friday’s loss:
1. Biggie with the starting nod
With no Hassan Whiteside, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts went with 6’9” big man Caleb Swanigan at the five spot. Friday’s game was Swangian’s fourth start over his three-year career. Swangian held his own against Rudy Gobert, especially on the glass. Biggie finished with four points and 11 rebounds. Plus, he took a crucial charge in crunch time.
2. Blazers depth went from bad to worse
Portland has been dealing with a number of injuries since the third game of the season when the Blazers lost Zach Collins to a left shoulder injury. Friday night, Portland lost Anfernee Simons to a hard fall. Simons did not return to the game after suffering a concussion.
The second-year player went up for a jumper from the free throw line in the final seconds of the first quarter, but then ultimately fell hard on his back, with his head whipping back and connecting with the court.
Anfernee Simons leaves game after hitting head on court pic.twitter.com/paz1jNXeGd— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) February 8, 2020
The Blazers were not only without Simons for the rest of the game, but then starting forward Trevor Ariza took out his frustrations after arguing a no-foul call. Ariza was ejected at the 10:05 mark of the second quarter after getting up in the official's face.
Trevor Ariza goes after official, is ejected pic.twitter.com/euEMbTkTD9— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) February 8, 2020
3. Emotions on full display
The technical fouls just kept coming in the second quarter while both teams showed their frustration and emotions.
Here’s the full list of techs that happened in the second quarter:
Trevor Ariza technical foul (1st technical foul)
Trevor Ariza technical foul (2nd technical foul)
Double technical foul: Carmelo Anthony and Royce O'Neale
Double technical foul: Donovan Mitchell and Gary Trent Jr. –handed out at the end of the first half
Jazz fans seemed to fuel the fire with their loud cheers, boos, and sporadic chants of ‘ref, you suck.’
Entering Friday's game, the Jazz had lost just five games at home all season.
Up Next: The Trail Blazers host the Miami Heat Sunday night. Catch all the action between the Blazers and Heat at 6:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.
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