Jazz dominate Trail Blazers for eighth straight home victory
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic scored 27 points, hitting six 3-pointers, to lead the Utah Jazz to a 123-85 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
Donovan Mitchell added 16 points while Royce O’Neale chipped in 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who won their eighth straight home game. The Jazz enjoyed their largest margin of victory since beating Sacramento 154-105 on April 28 last season.
“I liked how we moved the ball,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “I thought we defended.”
Trendon Watford scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Blazers. Keon Johnson tallied a career-high 15 points and a career-high five assists. CJ Elleby chipped in 10.
Portland has lost six straight games since the NBA All-Star break and has been outscored by 194 points in that stretch. The Blazers have recorded five 30-point losses over their last six games.
Against Utah, the Blazers matched season lows for first quarter points (15) and third quarter points (14).
“I thought we got some pretty good looks to be honest with you, just couldn’t make shots,” Portland coach Chauncey Billups said. “If we can’t make shots and we can’t stop them, we have a tough night.”
Eight players were inactive for Portland on Wednesday, including the Blazers’ top three scorers: Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, and Anfernee Simons. With so many key players sidelined, the Blazers struggled early to keep pace with Utah’s offense.
Portland missed 11 of its first 12 shots and trailed by as many as 19 points in the first quarter. Utah took a 31-12 lead in the final minute of the quarter after Mike Conley capped a 15-4 run with a 3-pointer.
The Blazers trimmed the deficit to 33-21 on back-to-back jumpers from Elleby and Ben McLemore early in the second quarter, The Jazz answered with a 13-1 run to extend their lead to 46-22. Jordan Clarkson fueled the run with back-to-back baskets and a pair of free throws.
Portland shot 29% from the field in the first half. Utah connected on 56% of its field goals.
“Obviously, that’s a great defensive team with probably the best shot blocker in the league down there,” Watford said. “I think we went in a little slump to where we couldn’t score and sort of let that affect our defense.”
The Jazz carved out a 51-point lead in the third quarter – their largest in a game this season. Utah went up 94-43 on a pair of free throws from Trent Forrest with 2:34 left in the quarter.
“The thing that sometimes happens when you get a big lead is that you changed how you play,” Snyder said. “I didn’t think that happened. I felt like we continued to play the right way on both ends.”
Blazers: Elijah Hughes made his second start for Portland since being acquired in a trade with Utah. Hughes finished with five rebounds, two assists, and zero points in 21 minutes. … The Blazers totaled 49 points heading into the fourth quarter, becoming the first NBA team to score fewer than 50 points through three quarters this season.
Jazz: No starters played in the fourth quarter for Utah and every active player on the roster played at least seven minutes. … The Jazz committed only nine turnovers.
Blazers host the Washington Wizards on Saturday.
Jazz visit the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.
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