NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 11th (All times Eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (51-28) at Utah Jazz (24-54), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers will play their final road game before the playoffs, as they visit the Utah Jazz Friday night.
The Trail Blazers can still improve their playoff positioning and sit 1 1/2 games behind the Houston Rockets in the fifth spot. The Rockets are in Minnesota Friday.
Portland has won two straight and six of seven games, and went 2-1 on a recent homestand, culminating with Wednesday's exciting 100-99 triumph versus the Sacramento Kings. Dorell Wright deposited the go-ahead 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds remaining for his only field goal of the game.
"It was an exciting way to win a game," Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said. "Dorell picked a good time to make his shot."
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Damian Lillard chipped in 19 points and 10 assists. Wesley Matthews ended with 19 points for Portland, which shot 51 percent and managed to survive despite committing 18 turnovers.
The Blazers are 12-3 against Northwest Division foes. Only Miami and Indiana have 12 wins in division play.
Portland is unbeaten in its last three road games and has a 22-18 record away from the Rose City. It will close the regular season with two games at home versus the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers.
Utah has lost 18 of its last 21 games, including Tuesday's 95-83 setback to the Dallas Mavericks.
Derrick Favors scored 19 points, Enes Kanter added 15 and 19 rebounds and Richard Jefferson also netted 15 points for the Jazz, who fell to 2-7 in the last nine home games and 16-23 overall in Salt Lake City.
The Mavericks had a 39-25 lead after the first quarter and it was enough to keep the Jazz at bay through the finale 36 minutes.
"I thought we came out and we gave up 39 points in the first quarter. I thought we played better after that first quarter," Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin said.
Utah still has the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves remaining on the schedule and is 3-10 against Northwest opponents.
The Jazz are 0-3 against Portland this season, but still have a respectable 7-4 record in the past 11 meetings between the teams. Portland has lost 15 of 19 and 20 of its last 25 trips to Salt Lake City.
The Blazers have never swept a season series with Utah.
04/11 10:46:31 ET