NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 6th (All times Eastern)
Utah Jazz (4-16) at Portland Trail Blazers (16-3), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers have started a new winning streak and hope to keep the momentum going Friday versus the Utah Jazz in the continuation of a four-game homestand.
The Blazers have won three in a row since their 11-game winning streak came to an end last week and are coming off Wednesday's 111-104 victory over the talented Oklahoma City Thunder. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with a season-high 38 points, 13 rebounds and five assists for Portland, which has won seven straight at home and is 8-1 in the Rose City.
Portland opened the second half on a 22-10 run, while Aldridge converted a career-high 17 field goals (17-of-28).
"He's the best power forward in the game," Portland forward Wesley Matthews said of Aldridge. "He's got to be getting MVP votes with the way we're playing, with the level he's playing at."
Robin Lopez added 12 points and 10 rebounds, and both Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum scored 14 points to help snap the Thunder's eight-game winning streak. The Blazers' 16-3 record is tied for the second-best mark through 19 games in team history (16-3, 1977-78). The 1990-91 squad was a remarkable 18-1 after 19 contests.
The Trail Blazers will try to become the first 17-game winner in the Western Conference and second in the NBA (Indiana, 17-2). They defeated the mighty Pacers on Monday in the opener of the residency and will close out the homestand Saturday versus Dallas.
Utah had its season-high two-game winning streak cut short with Wednesday's 95-86 setback to the Pacers, as Derrick Favors scored 22 points and grabbed 13 boards, while Enes Kanter tallied 20 points and 10 rebounds.
"Nobody likes to lose, but at the same time, they're one of the best teams in the NBA," Favors said of the Pacers. "We learned a lot tonight, mentally and physically."
The Jazz jumped out to a 12-2 lead behind a pair of 3-pointers from Trey Burke before taking a 23-17 cushion into the second stanza. They outscored the Pacers, 30-25, in the second stanza, but the visitors had a 48-38 advantage in the second half to stay on track.
Indiana scored 20 points off 14 Utah turnovers and only committed eight miscues on the night.
Utah is just 1-9 away from Salt Lake City and took three of four meetings with the Northwest Division-rival Blazers a season ago. The Jazz have dominated this series lately by winning seven of eight and 12 of the last 16 matchups, but the Blazers have improved.
The two division foes have split the last 16 games in the Pacific Northwest.
12/06 10:25:54 ET