Utah Jazz

Schedule released for Las Vegas Summer League

usatsi_10164616.jpg
Summer League

Schedule released for Las Vegas Summer League

MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2018 in Las Vegas is just around the corner and on Tuesday the NBA released the schedule for the annual summer basketball event.

The Portland Trail Blazers will open up play on July 7 against the Utah Jazz, follow that up the next day with a matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, and wrap up pool play on July 10 with a game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Tournament play will begin on July 11.

A detailed schedule for the Blazers is below:

Game 1: Saturday, July 7 - 12 p.m. – Portland vs. Utah (Cox Pavilion/NBA TV)

Game 2: Sunday, July 8 - 2:30 p.m. – Portland vs. Atlanta (Thomas & Mack/ESPN2)

Game 3: Tuesday, July 10 - 1 p.m. – San Antonio vs. Portland (Cox Pavilion/NBA TV)

The first round of the Summer League Tournament will begin on July 11, ending with the championship game on July 17.

The Blazers will play at least five games (three in pool play and a minimum of two tournament games) and as many as eight if they make it to the championship game. 

Be sure to follow Jason Quick and Jamie Hudson for full coverage of the Trail Blazers in Las Vegas from the opening tip-off until the end of the tournament and check back here at NBCSportsNorthwest.com daily!

To see the complete schedule for the Las Vegas Summer League visit NBA.com. Tickets are available now and can be purchased at NBATickets.com

Missing in action: Trail Blazers looking for their shot, mojo as playoffs near

Missing in action: Trail Blazers looking for their shot, mojo as playoffs near

DENVER – Al-Farouq Aminu was the last player to leave the Trail Blazers locker room Monday, and no matter how long he sat in front of his locker, he still couldn’t find the answer to what has happened to his shot and the Trail Blazers’ once invincible mojo.

Since the Blazers’ magical 13-game winning streak, Aminu’s shot has been decidedly off, and so too has the Blazers’ game. Monday’s 88-82 loss in Denver was the fourth consecutive defeat and lowered Portland to 4-7 since its memorable run through late February and March. 

Home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs is now in jeopardy, although a win in Wednesday’s season finale against Utah will secure the third seed and the coveted right to host a best-of-seven series. Lose, and the Blazers could fall to as low as fifth, which would put them on a jet to start the playoffs. 

It is an odd feeling for a team that just weeks ago was brimming with confidence and playing with a swagger that caught the attention of even the most elite NBA teams. They are not far off from that brand of basketball, they insist, pointing to their defense and their grit during what has been 10 days of intense, playoff-caliber tune-ups.

The hardest thing for the Blazers to digest is why their shots are not falling. Coach Terry Stotts and every player insist the offense is producing good shots, and the players are taking the right shots. 

But, for whatever reason, those shots are off the mark.

It’s one of the things Aminu was pondering as he sat silently in front of his locker, and he smiled uneasily when asked if he can sense a hitch in his shot or a defect in his delivery.

“I wish. I wish,’’ Aminu said. “I wish it was that simple, in the sense it felt off, then it would be easier to correct. Just as a whole team, myself included, the ball hasn’t gone in as much as we would like to.’’ 

Aminu, who went 3-for-13 from the field including 1-for-8 from three-point range in Denver, echoed what many of his teammates said Monday – the law of averages will someday end this shooting slump. 

As often is the case, Aminu has been the bellwether of the Blazers’ aim. Since the streak ended, he is 12-for-59 (20.3 percent) from three-point range. During the Blazers’ run, he went 28-for-64 (43.8 percent) from three.

He is hardly alone. 

CJ McCollum continues to shoot a lot, and miss a lot. Pat Connaughton has disappeared. Shabazz Napier has cooled considerably after a breakout season. And Evan Turner continues to struggle if he is not posting. All told, the Blazers from three-point range the last 11 games are shooting 29 percent (101-for-348).

“Right now, we are just waiting for our shots to go down,’’ Turner said.

Aminu points out that the Blazers have been here before.  The offense sputtered at season’s start, but found its groove in January as the ball movement and shot-making improved. And even amid their recent three-point clankfest, the Blazers rank in the top 10 in three-point field goal percentage. 

It’s why the Blazers were borderline defiant Monday when peppered with questions about their shooting.

“There’s nothing to make of it,’’ Stotts snapped. “As long as we get good looks, I’m fine. That’s part of the game.’’

Added Lillard, when asked why he is optimistic their shot will return: “Because we can shoot the ball. If we were shooting bad because we are taking bad shots, then that would be a problem. But we are getting good looks. We are NBA players and we shoot the ball, that’s what our team does. It’s not a concern. It always comes back.’’ 

But will it in time to secure home court? And more important, in time for the playoffs?

It is a fitting predicament for a Blazers team that has been unpredictable and streaky throughout the season. Just when you think they are good, they slump. And just when you are convinced they are average, they surge.

Who are the real Blazers? And where is their collective shot? The answers will begin to reveal themselves on Wednesday in a pressure-packed finale. 

Lillard, for one, remains confident the shots will fall, and when that happens, the Blazers will once again look like an elite team.

“It happens,’’ he said of the missed shots. “I think everything balances itself out. You have times when you go on stretches when you shoot the ball really well, and then other times you struggle. I think right now, we are happy with the kind of basketball we are playing. The way we are playing is allowing us to get the good shots but those shots aren’t going in. you have to be able to deal with it, and take the good with the bad.’’

Trail Blazers have gone from comfort to concern as season nears finish line

cj_in_sa.jpg
USA Today

Trail Blazers have gone from comfort to concern as season nears finish line

SAN ANTONIO – It was over the weekend in Texas when Al-Farouq Aminu and Shabazz Napier were talking about the suddenly precarious turn the Trail Blazers season has taken. 

“Me and Chief were talking, and it’s kind of funny … we were saying we are lucky we won 13 in a row the way we’ve been playing,’’ Napier said. “Granted we’ve had some injuries, but we haven’t been playing as well as we should have.’’

That month-long streak that vaulted the Blazers into third place in the Western Conference is starting to seem like a season ago. Since then, Maurice Harkless has had knee surgery. Ed Davis has been at home resting a sprained ankle. And the team is monitoring Damian Lillard’s swollen left ankle as closely as they are the NBA scoreboard.

But after Saturday’s 116-105 loss in San Antonio – the Blazers’ third straight and fourth in six games - if there is any panic among the Trail Blazers the players were doing a good job hiding it.

“We’re good,’’ CJ McCollum said. “If you would have told me we have 48 wins and two games left and chance to finish in third place, I would have told you I would take it.’’

Indeed, the Blazers (48-32) still control their own destiny. They will secure the third seed by either winning both of their remaining games – Monday at Denver and Wednesday at home versus Utah – or with one win and one loss by Utah, who plays at the Lakers, at home against Golden State and at Portland. 

They secure home court advantage in the first round with one win, or one Utah loss. The lowest Portland can finish is fifth, with only Utah and San Antonio able to pass them. 

But what was once a comfort has turned into concern after bad losses in the past two weeks, including one at Memphis and one at Dallas. The defense has slipped – no doubt a reflection of missing defensive stalwarts Harkless and Davis – and McCollum has slumped (16.4 points, 36.6 percent shooting last five games), and coach Terry Stotts has hinted that the sharpness has dulled. 

It has created an anxious vibe around the team, not out of panic, but rather an eagerness to prove they are indeed the streaking Blazers and not a flash-in-the-pan that got hot. 

It’s why McCollum said he is confident the Blazers can take care of business Monday in Denver against a Nuggets team that has won five in a row and six in a row at home as it fights for one of the final playoff spots. 

“We know what it takes; we have been here before,’’ McCollum said. “We know the severity of these games and we also understand that we allowed ourselves to have a bit of cushion by winning and beating some teams we are supposed to beat and stealing some games on the road. But now it’s time to turn the page and refocus and finish strong.’’

That was the conclusion Aminu and Napier reached in their Texas conversation – that the remaining schedule is an opportunity for the Blazers.

“The good thing about it is we have two more games,’’ Napier said. “And we can use those games as a way to go into the playoffs with some moxie for us.’’

Blazer guards' 11 turnovers lead to overtime loss at Utah

Blazer guards' 11 turnovers lead to overtime loss at Utah

Another close game, another lost opportunity.

The Trail Blazers had a road win in their hands Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, but fumbled it away and lost in overtime. As I've said many times, when you lose a close game, you can always point to many reasons for the defeat. I mean, Portland had the ball for the last shot in regulation with the score tied and didn't score. On the road, you better take advantage of that last shot. Especially when you send the other team to the foul line a dozen times, miss all five of your three-point attempts and allow 75 percent shooting during the overtime.

[NBC Sports Gold “Blazers Pass” 15-game Blazers package for fans without NBC Sports Northwest $34.99 – click to learn more and buy.]

This was an unusual night because the two players who normally carry the Trail Blazers let them down. Damian Lillard (who had a nightmarish night from three-point range) and CJ McCollum (who had a horrendous night with the ball) were a combined 18 for 47 from the field, including a 6-for-23 effort from three-point range. On top of that, they combined for 11 of their team's 17 turnovers. Ouch.

The starting Trail Blazer guards are the mainstays -- the foundation of this team. They are responsible for a lot of wins and on the rare occasions when they don't play well, they must take responsibility for the losses, too. I don't expect that to happen very often, but it did Wednesday against the Utah Jazz.

 

Caleb Swanigan leads Trail Blazers' opening win with double-double

Caleb Swanigan leads Trail Blazers' opening win with double-double

LAS VEGAS – It didn’t take long for the Trail Blazers rookies to make an impact Saturday in the Blazers’  72-63 win over Utah in both team's Las Vegas Summer League opener.

Caleb Swanigan, the No. 26 overall pick in last month’s draft, scored the first basket of the game on what figures to be his signature play – an offensive-rebound putback in traffic.

One offensive possession later, Zach Collins – the No. 10 overall pick – threaded a nice backdoor bounce pass to Jake Layman, who dunked. Collins, a 19-year-old 7-footer, followed up the pass with a polished turnaround jumper from the baseline on the next possession.

By the end of the game, it was Swanigan who made the biggest impression as the 6-foot-9 power forward finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds and several hustle plays that ended up with him on the court or saving balls from going out of bounds. Half of his points came from the free throw line as he punished Utah inside, even as he struggled through 4-of-12 shooting, which included one three pointer. 

Collins, meanwhile, had a sputtering debut as he went 3-for-13 from the field and had five turnovers. Most of his turnovers came as he struggled to secure the ball in traffic, resulting in him being stripped or losing control. Collins finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

Pat Connaughton, the Blazers player with the most at stake at Summer League, struggled with his shot – missing all five, including three three-pointers – but he finished with a game-high six assists. Connaughton needs a solid showing in Las Vegas in order for the Blazers to guarantee his $1.4 million contract before the July 25 deadline.

Jake Layman, who started at small forward, had 13 points and five rebounds while making 4-of-8 from the field, including 2-of-6 from three-point range.

Utah was led by guard Donovan Mitchell, the No. 13 overall pick, who had 19 points.

Next up: Blazers vs. Boston, Sunday 5:30 p.m. (CSN, ESPN2)

The Trail Blazers have done everything possible to avoid Utah's Hayward calamity

The Trail Blazers have done everything possible to avoid Utah's Hayward calamity

Yes, it was too bad Utah couldn't have held on to Gordon Hayward instead of losing him to Boston in free agency. The Jazz had something good percolating in Salt Lake City but lost an all-star player with no compensation, a monumental setback for a small-market franchise.

But in analyzing what happened to Utah, it's easy to see how the Trail Blazers have taken a much smarter approach to building a franchise in a market that's not likely to attract premium free agents.

The Jazz messed up with Hayward. They blew it. And forget market size and all those alibis, Hayward should still be in a Utah uniform. Back in 2014, the Jazz had the chance to sign him to a five-year rookie extension and did not do that. Sure, Hayward had not yet shown he would become an all-star, but his career arc was on the rise. I'm not certain whether the Utah front office was simply penny pinching or just didn't know how talented Hayward was -- but really,  a big underrated skill for those operating a team in the NBA is knowing your own players and their potential better than anyone else does.

And when you draft and develop players with all-star potential, you better be 100 percent, rock-solid sure they don't blossom someplace else. You just cannot afford to make mistakes with players you have drafted and had on your roster for multiple seasons.

Utah could have signed Hayward to that extension at five years and $80 million but sat back, hoping to re-sign him on the cheap. However Charlotte came in and offered him a four-year, $63 million deal with the final season a player option. Of course, Utah matched the offer -- but as you can see, it cost the Jazz two years of Hayward and those two seasons could have turned out to be successful enough to convince him to stay in Utah even longer.

Now do you understand why Neil Olshey took no such chance with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum? They are tied to the Trail Blazers for as long as contractually possible, though the 2020-21 season. And oh, by the way, all those other contracts Portland signed last summer -- Maurice Harkless, Allen Crabbe, Meyers Leonard, Evan Turner -- that people complain about, had strategic value. The Trail Blazers preserved cap space by making those deals before signing McCollum to his extension. Had they not made those deals when they did, very little cap space would have been left to fill the roster after CJ's deal was signed.

And seriously, do you think Portland could have signed a free agent this summer as talented as McCollum? No way. In a situation like Portland's, it's best to draft wise, trade smart and make sure your key players don't get away.

Because replacing them can prove to be very difficult.

 

After record night, Damian Lillard delivers final assist to Utah locker room

After record night, Damian Lillard delivers final assist to Utah locker room

Inside the Trail Blazers’ locker room, after he secured the top scoring performance in franchise history, Damian Lillard on Saturday had one final statistic to add to his record night.

It wasn’t another point to add to his 59-point outburst that propelled the Blazers to an ever-important 101-86 victory over Utah, but rather an assist.

As the Blazers broke their team huddle inside the locker room, Blazers equipment manager Eric Hallman approached Lillard with the game ball. But instead of taking the keepsake for his trophy room, Lillard sent it down the hall to the Jazz locker room and veteran Joe Johnson.

During Saturday’s game, Johnson became the 42nd player in NBA history to amass 20,000 career points.

“So I told them to give it to him,’’ Lillard said. “That’s an accomplishment for him as well.’’

Lillard instead said he would keep his jersey to commemorate the night, which was different from the start. After all, it was Lillard who chose to outfit the Blazers in their road black uniforms for the home game, an idea that came to him after seeing an old picture of Terry Porter and the Blazers in black.

For a night at least, Lillard and these Blazers had more than just the look of Porter and the most hailed era of Blazers. They played like it, too.

Going against one of the NBA’s top defenses, the Blazers tied a franchise record by committing just three turnovers. And going against a Utah team that was trying to lock down homecourt advantage in the playoffs while securing their 50th win, the Blazers played what coach Terry Stotts and Lillard said was their best defensive game of the season, holding Utah to 40.3 percent shooting.

It all put the Blazers (40-40) on the cusp of clinching the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Portland needs to beat either San Antonio on Monday or New Orleans on Wednesday, or have Denver lose one of its three remaining games – Sunday at home against Oklahoma City, Tuesday at Dallas, or Wednesday at Oklahoma City – and the Blazers will clinch a postseason berth and head to the Bay Area for a first round matchup at Golden State.

If the Blazers make the playoffs, many will look back to Lillard’s record performance and the Blazers’ victory Saturday as one of the defining moments.

But to understand the entirety of what is transpiring here, and to appreciate the greatness of Lillard, you will have to go back to the dark days, in February.

It was a night that Lillard left the Moda Center with a distinct feeling.

He was thirsty.

**

It has been a long road back for the Blazers since the night they left Detroit on the last day of February. Portland was 24-35, a season-high 11 games below .500, and it was on that night Lillard missed a free throw with 10.8 seconds left that could have prevented the game from going to overtime, where the Blazers eventually lost to the Pistons.

If the ending of February was the nadir, Lillard never let anyone feel it. Inside the locker room he kept preaching about embracing the struggle of the season, and reminding his teammates that success is not easy.

On Feb. 13, after another bitter defeat in overtime to Atlanta, which came after Paul Millsap hit a last-second shot to force the extra period, Lillard lamented the team seemed snakebit.

“It just feels like when we are in those situations, the worst possible thing happens … It just feels like we haven’t had great luck,’’ Lillard said after the Atlanta loss.

Nobody wore the losses more than Lillard. But never did he seem defeated, and never did he let the team’s hope waver.

“I’m anxious,’’ Lillard said after the Atlanta loss in Portland. “Anxious to be like, man, we are getting it going … I’m thirsty for that moment.’’

That thirst led him to look at what seemed like a crumbling season and see opportunity.

“I think of it as a test,’’ Lillard said that night. “It’s hard. Everybody has something to say about it, but it’s hard. Sometimes I just tell myself that sometimes you have to go through a struggle. Sometimes it has to be hard on you. I always feel like you go through tough things but you have opportunity to make it special in the end.

“Right now, we are just having a hard time. That’s not to say we accept it, but sometimes you have to grind it out and stay with it, and it will come back to your favor as long as you stay true to what you’ve been doing,’’ Lillard said.

On Saturday, after his 59-point effort that all but completed their comeback, Lillard was reminded of his sermons in February,  and before his quotes were recited, he was finishing them.

“…. going to make it sweeter in the end,’’ Lillard said. “But we are not there yet. We’ve climbed, done a lot of climbing to get in this position, and now we are one game from accomplishing what we wanted to get done – and that’s get a playoff spot. That struggle makes us enjoy this – working our way back and feeling some success – it make it feel that much better. Especially when we get this next win and lock it up. We will be feeling good about ourselves and we will appreciate those hard times even more.’’

That Lillard kept not only his outlook, but the team’s focus, on reaching this point is a testament to his leadership and his will to win.

Like Lillard’s assist to Johnson and his 20,000-point milestone, it’s something that won’t show in the boxscore, but goes a long way in defining who Lillard is as a player and person.

And it’s why the Blazers are now one victory, or one Denver loss, away from the playoffs.

Up next: San Antonio at Blazers, 7 p.m. Monday (CSN).

 

Damian Lillard sets franchise scoring record, puts Blazers on cusp of playoffs

Damian Lillard sets franchise scoring record, puts Blazers on cusp of playoffs

A record-setting performance by Damian Lillard has put the Trail Blazers on the cusp of a playoff berth.

Lillard on Saturday scored 59 points, setting the franchise mark for points in a game, as the Blazers beat Utah 101-86 at the Moda Center to reduce their magic number to one for clinching the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Lillard made 18-of-34 shots, including 9-of-14 three-pointers and 14-of-16 free throws. He added six rebounds and five assists and played 42 minutes.

Lillard broke the franchise record of 54 held by Damon Stoudmaire (2005) and the Moda Center record of 52 held by Brandon Roy (2008).

"Damian was phenomenal,'' coach Terry Stotts said.

The performance couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Blazers played without Allen Crabbe (left foot soreness) and endured an off-night from CJ McCollum, who went 4-of-20.

“I realized what time it was for our team,’’ Lillard said. “We’ve worked too hard, and came too far … we have to win … we gotta get it done.’’

Lillard’s big night also moved the Blazers 1.5 games ahead of Denver with two games left. Denver plays at home Sunday against Oklahoma City. The Blazers can clinch with a Nuggets loss.

The Blazers also tied a franchise mark with only three turnovers. 

The Blazers next play Monday at home against San Antonio and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters after Saturday’s game that he would not rest any Spurs players for the final two games because he has been unhappy with the team’s physicality recently.

Lillard tied his franchise record by scoring 26 points in the first quarter, leading the Blazers to a 34-20 lead. The big start by Lillard and the Blazers didn’t carryover in the second quarter as Utah clawed to within 48-42 by closing the half on an 18-8 run. The run was keyed by a stalled Blazers’ offense that went nearly five minutes without scoring.

“I knew it was important for us to get off to a good start,’’ Lillard said.

Stotts also called the game the Blazers' best defensive effort of the season. He credited the switching abilities of Evan Turner, Maurice Harkless and Noah Vonlehon pick-and-rolls to holding Utah (49-31) to 40.3 percent shooting.

Next up: San Antonio at Blazers, 7 p.m. Monday (CSN)

Podcast:

Playoff race tightens as McCollum's 25 not enough for Trail Blazers in Utah

Playoff race tightens as McCollum's 25 not enough for Trail Blazers in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – Buckle your seat belts, Portland, the Trail Blazers’ pursuit of the playoffs is looking like it will be a wild ride.

Portland had its lead over Denver reduced to a half-game Tuesday when Utah pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 106-87 win at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Coupled with Denver’s 134-131 win at New Orleans earlier in the night, the Blazers (38-40) and Denver (37-40) look like they will take the race for the final playoff spot in the West into the final week of the season.

Portland will have its four remaining games at home, where it has won five in a row. The Blazers will close against Minnesota, Utah, San Antonio and New Orleans. Denver has five games left: at Houston, at home against New Orleans, at home against Oklahoma City before finishing the season on a road back-to-back at Dallas and Oklahoma City.

The Blazers might have the favorable schedule, but they will have to do it without starting center Jusuf Nurkic, whose absence was felt again Tuesday in his third game out with a broken right leg. One game after Minnesota big man Karl-Anthony Towns went for 34 points and 12 rebounds, Utah center Rudy Gobert had 20 points and 11 rebounds and reserve center Jeff Withey added 10 points and two rebounds.

The Blazers are 1-2 without Nurkic, and against Utah coach Terry Stotts shuffled his starting lineup, putting Al-Farouq Aminu at power forward and moving Noah Vonleh to center. The move never had time to materialize, however, as Vonleh picked up two early fouls and headed to the bench with 8:57 left.

Vonleh’s early foul trouble was just the start of the Blazers’ troubles. They missed their first seven shots and fell behind 11-0 as Rudy Gobert hurt them inside and Gordon Hayward from the outside.

It didn’t help either that star point guard Damian Lillard had a rare off night, making just 5-of-20 shots for 16 points, tied for his third lowest output of the season.

But behind some offensive spark from McCollum and Meyers Leonard, and a defensive jolt from Evan Turner, the Blazers scrapped back and took a 31-30 lead in the second quarter. The lead was short-lived, however, as Utah called timeout and responded with a 13-2 run that helped them take a 47-41 halftime lead.

Portland was within 72-64 near the end of the third quarter, but Joe Johnson hit a three-pointer with 0.5 seconds left – the second of four consecutive three-pointers he hit in a three minute span that turned a 65-58 game into an 83-68 blowout in the fourth.

Utah (48-30) stretched its lead to as many as 20 in the fourth quarter, even though they were playing without three starters – point guard George Hill, shooting guard Rodney Hood and power forward Derrick Favors. Gordon Hayward finished with 30 points, and Johnson  13 off the bench. Utah is now one game ahead of the Clippers for the fourth seed in the West.

McCollum led Portland with 25 points while Aminu had 11.

Next up: Minnesota at Blazers, Thursday 7:30 p.m. (TNT)

Trail Blazers limp into the All-Star Break after lopsided loss in Utah

Trail Blazers limp into the All-Star Break after lopsided loss in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – Coach Terry Stotts says the All-Star Break comes at a good time for every team in the NBA, but perhaps no team will welcome  the break more than the Trail Blazers.

Portland limped into the All-Star break Wednesday with its third straight loss and fifth in six game with a 111-88 loss to Utah at Vivint Arena.

Portland (23-33) fell to a season-low 10 games below .500 and will resume play Feb. 23 sitting two games behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Utah (35-22) ended a three-game losing streak as All-Star Gordon Hayward had 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds and fill-in starter Joe Ingles added 18 points.

Lost in the numbing end to Wednesday’s game, when Utah led by as many as 22 in the fourth quarter, was the successful debut of  Jusuf Nurkic, the 7-foot center acquired from Denver on Sunday in a trade for Mason Plumlee.

Nurkic finished with 13 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes and he showed a little of everything from passing, to defense to being an inside presence. He first entered with 4:22 left in the first quarter and immediately lost the ball while trying to make an offensive move, but he later made a nifty touch pass to Allen Crabbe, blocked a Derrick Favors shot at the rim, and scored off an offensive rebound. All told, he made 5-of-5 shots, 3-of-4 free throws and added two steals, two blocks and an assist.

The Blazers also used a new starting lineup, with Ed Davis replacing Noah Vonleh at power forward and Meyers Leonard starting his second straight game at center. Leonard hit his first two three pointers in the opening minutes of the game, but was quiet thereafter, finishing with 10 points and one rebound in 24 minutes. Davis finished with seven points and five rebounds in 18 minutes.

The Blazers made a 15-0 run at the end of the first half and into the third quarter, erasing a 40-26 deficit to take a 41-40 lead with 11:31 left in the third.

But Portland could never get a sustained offensive push as its two stars – Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum – had off shooting nights. Lillard went 3-for-19 and finished with 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

McCollum picked up three fouls in the first quarter, anchoring him to the bench for all but the final 2:42 of the half. After missing his first five shots, he came in and made his next three to ignite the 15-0 run, but he suffered through an 8-for-19 night despite leading the team with 18 points.

Both teams struggled shooting in the opening quarter, with Utah missing its final 10 shots, allowing Portland to get within 18-17. Utah shot 6-of-21 (28.6 percent) in the quarter and Portland made 30.4 percent of its shots (7-of-23) as McCollum (0-for-5) and Lillard (1-for-7) were uncharacteristically off.

Next up: Blazers at Orlando, Feb. 23, 4 p.m. (CSN)