First vs. Worst when Blazers visit Utah
(SportsNetwork.com) - Its first versus worst in the Western Conference Monday night as the Portland Trail Blazers travel to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Jazz.
Portland is a game ahead of the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference and trail only the Indiana Pacers for best record in the league.
The Jazz are in the cellar in both the conference and the league.
The Blazers had a four-game winning streak snapped on Saturday when they lost a last-second heartbreaker to the Dallas Mavericks. The loss also ended an eight-game home winning streak.
Portland's Damian Lillard buried a 3-pointer to tie it with 1.9 seconds left, but Dallas' Monta Ellis hit a jumper as the horn expired to give Portland its first home setback since Nov. 5 against the Houston Rockets.
"I hate to lose a game like that. I'd rather be blown out than to lose at the buzzer," Lillard said.
Lillard matched his season-high with 32 points on 5-for-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Nicolas Batum scored 22 points and LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez both registered double-doubles.
On Friday, in Rose City, the Blazers set a new franchise record with 17 made 3-pointers against the Jazz. Portland won by 32, but was ahead by as many as 42.
"Our 3-point shooters are good 3-point shooters. That's not surprising," said Portland coach Terry Stotts. "Now you don't expect to shoot that well obviously, but more importantly, our 3s are in rhythm. They're good shots for the guys taking them. When those guys are taking open 3s, there is a good chance they'll go in."
The Blazers return home Thursday to face Houston, then head east for four games.
The Jazz have lost three straight since back-to-back wins last week. Aside from the Portland debacle, the Jazz lost to the Pacers and on Saturday, fell in overtime at home against the Sacramento Kings, 112-102.
Utah shot 1-for-9 from the field in overtime.
"It hurts really bad," said guard Trey Burke. "I felt like we definitely should have won this game but it was the small areas that killed us down the stretch. The beauty of this thing is we have another game on Monday."
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 22 points, but Burke had a great all-around game with 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Alec Burks also had 19 off the bench. Richard Jefferson and Enes Kanter scored in double figures as Derrick Favors missed the game with a sore lower back.
Despite the win on Friday, Portland has lost seven of the last nine meetings between the two. The Blazers have dropped four straight in Salt Lake City.
12/09 09:40:55 ET