Trail Blazers

Instant Analysis: Blazers third-quarter woes prove costly in loss to Jazz

Trail Blazers
USATI

On Tuesday night as the Trail Blazers took on the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center, Portland surrendered 47 points in the first quarter and trailed by as many as 26 points in the game.

Portland’s first 12 minutes were deemed “embarrassing,” as Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts noted after the game. The Blazers (30-20) vowed not to let history repeat itself on Thursday against the Jazz (38-13).

Less than 48 hours later in Salt Lake City, Utah, as two of the best offenses in the league met at Vivint Arena, it appeared as if the Blazers had turned the tides. From tip-off, the Blazers brought the energy, set screens and brought a sound defensive effort to the Jazz, recording two blocks and two steals in the first quarter alone. Portland trailed 30-29 after 12 minutes. 

Robert Covington made a 27-foot three-point jumper with 3:38 left in the second quarter and Portland took a 47-46 lead over Utah. The Trail Blazers three-guard lineup of Damian Lillard, Norman Powell and CJ McCollum were extremely effective from the jump. 

 

The trio had 34 of the Blazers 56 points at halftime and Portland had the 56-53 edge at the break. 

Then, the third quarter happened, and a cold-shooting spell hit the Blazers. Utah outscored Portland 40-16 in the third take an 93-75 lead, and two-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell began to take over the game. 

Unable to claw out of an 18-point deficit in the final quarter, the Blazers fell 122-103 to the Jazz. Utah now has a 2-0 series lead and will face Portland for the final time on May 12. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: 122-103

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The Good:  

Midway through the first quarter, Lillard already had matched his game-high 9 points from the two teams' first meeting on Dec. 23, 2020.

The Trail Blazers star had a team-high 14 points at the half to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Lillard finished with 23 points (8-21 FG, 3-10 3PT) and added 5 rebounds and 6 assists for the game. 

Lillard also hit a milestone on Thursday night. He passed LeBron James for 13th on the NBA's career three-pointers made list. 

The Bad: 

Donovan Mitchell was absolutely dialed in and the 29th-ranked Blazers defense struggled to cover him all game long. Mitchell has 37 points on 14-of-25 shooting in 33 minutes and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. 

The Jazz out-rebounded the Blazers 58-41 and Portland shot just 27.1 from three-point range. 

The Highlight:

 

Derrick Jones Jr. has got hops!

Next up: 

The Trail Blazers, now 30-21, will return to Rip City for a three-game homestand at Moda Center. Portland will next host the Detroit Pistons (15-36) on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. PT.