Lillard has 28 and Blazers down Jazz 102-94
- Article by: ANNE M. PETERSON
- Associated Press
- February 21, 2014 - 11:40 PM
PORTLAND, Ore. — Damian Lillard had 28 points and the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers came back from a third-quarter deficit to beat the Utah Jazz 102-94 Friday night.
Robin Lopez had 12 points and a career-high 18 rebounds for the Blazers, who avoided a season-high fourth straight loss.
Enes Kanter matched his career-high with 25 points and added 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who lost their second straight after a three-game winning streak.
Utah opened the final quarter with a 73-64 lead, but Portland answered with a 7-0 run to close within 73-71 and went ahead on Lillard's 3-pointer with 9:18 left. Energized by regaining the lead, Lillard's alley-oop dunk off a dish from Nicolas Batum made it 80-75 with 6:07 left.
Utah kept it close down the stretch, with Richard Jefferson's 3-pointer narrowing the gap to 85-83. Batum answered with a 3-pointer for the Blazers.
Kanter's jumper got Utah within 94-91 with 1:21 to go, but Mo Williams' jumper extended it again for the Blazers, who cruised the rest of the way.
Portland was playing their second game without All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who has a left groin strain.
Aldridge, who leads the team with 23.9 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, also is expected to sit out Sunday night's game against Minnesota before he is reevaluated.
Dorell Wright started in Aldridge's place.
The Blazers were also without forward Joel Freeland, who has a right knee sprain, and Meyers Leonard, who sprained his left ankle in practice on Monday, leaving the team's frontcourt thin.
It got even thinner when Batum, who has been fighting the flu, retreated to the locker room late in the first half. Will Barton started the second half, but Batum returned late in the third quarter.
The Jazz were without forward Derrick Favors, who missed his second straight game because of ongoing hip issues. Favors is averaging 12.9 points and nine rebounds a game. Kanter started in his place and led both teams with 15 points at the half.
The Blazers led by as many as six points in the first quarter, but the Jazz closed in and went ahead 19-18 on Diante Garrett's driving layup.
Portland reclaimed a 28-25 lead midway through the second quarter on Barton's fast-break 360-degree dunk. Lillard's 3-pointer extended the lead to 43-37.
Both teams wrestled for the lead through the third quarter, until the Jazz appeared to make a move, going up 62-57 on Trey Burke's deep 3-pointer. It was Utah's biggest lead of the game to that point.
Utah extended the lead to 68-60 on Alec Burks' layup.
NOTES: Blazers coach Terry Stotts wore a plaid sportcoat and an open-collared shirt in honor of Dr. Jack Ramsay's 89th birthday. Ramsay coached the Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA title, hence the throwback outfit. ... Portland, known for its 3-point shooting, made just one in the first half.
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