Blazers, Jazz look to shake recent losses


After an emotional, intense overtime loss in Phoenix on Wednesday night, the Utah Jazz don’t have much time to lick their wounds.

Thursday’s contest in Salt Lake City won’t be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup like Wednesday’s entertaining game, a 117-113 setback to the Suns, but the Jazz are hosting another potential playoff team from the Western Conference in the Portland Trail Blazers.

The quick turnaround might be a good thing for Utah.

That loss, the second in a row on an 0-for-2 road trip, was a painful one. The Jazz got outworked on the boards and had their worst 3-point performance of the season while falling for just the second time in 11 games.

“It’s good to be in games like this,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “Obviously, you would hope it turns out the other way. But I think these are the types of games you want to be in. You want to feel what it’s like to be in them, and want to figure out how you can win them.”

Donovan Mitchell had a game reminiscent of his playoff explosion in last summer’s bubble, with 41 points and a clutch 3 to force overtime. But Devin Booker and Chris Paul proved to be too much for the Jazz in overtime, beating Utah for the second time.

“That was playoff basketball,” Mitchell said. “We’re not always gonna have 60-point halves. … We were a few rebounds away from winning.”

The Suns’ first victory over Utah this season was also the last time the Jazz lost in Utah. It came on New Year’s Eve 2020. The Jazz have won a franchise-record 22 straight games at home since then.

One point of emphasis for Utah will be improving their defensive rebounding. Phoenix outrebounded them 61-45 overall and 16-7 on the offensive glass. Rudy Gobert hauled in 18 boards and Mitchell grabbed a respectable eight, but the other three starters only combined for six boards. That included one apiece by Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles.

“We all gotta get the rebounds — especially me,” Bogdanovic said. “I played more than 30 minutes with only one board. I gotta be more aggressive. … Rudy is doing great helping with the pick-and-roll — we all gotta get in there and rebound.”

Portland enters this game with a bad taste in its mouth as well, having lost two of three, including a 133-116 drubbing by the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

All-Star Damian Lillard only had 11 points and Portland coach Terry Stotts called his team’s defensive no-show in the first quarter “embarrassing.” The Clippers outscored the Blazers 47-32 to set the stage for a rough night. Portland had won four in a row on the road before the defeat.

“The first quarter was really bad defensively,” said Blazers’ Norman Powell, who led the team with 32 points. “They didn’t feel us. They got in a rhythm and were able to hit shots. We have to put together a full 48-minute effort on the defensive end.”

It’s uncertain whether the Jazz will be with All-Star point guard Mike Conley Jr., but he’s missed a handful of games on the second end of back-to-back sets for load management.

–Field Level Media

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