SALT LAKE CITY — The losing streak is over.
Powered by a pair of clutch baskets from forward Bojan Bogdanovic and guard Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 117-114 Friday night at Vivint Arena. The victory brought the Jazz’s recent five game losing skid to a merciful, if heart-pounding end.
Here are three takeaways from the Jazz’s win over the Trail Blazers.
- It was all about the second half for the Jazz. After being outplayed in the first half — the Trail Blazers outscored the Jazz 72-58 — Utah was collectively much improved in the second. The Jazz held the Trail Blazers to only 42 second half points, 17 in the third and 25 in the fourth. By contrast, Utah scored 30 in the third and 29 in the final period. It still took a pair of last-minute buckets by Bogdanovic and Mitchell, not to mention a horribly missed goal-tend in the final seconds, for the Jazz to put the game away, though.
- Portland star Damian Lillard cooled off a little bit when compared to the torrid hot streak he had been on, but not by much. The Weber State alumnus finished with a game-high 42 points, including 21 from behind the arc. Lillard scored 28 points in the first half alone, including 16 in the first quarter when he went 7 of 7 from the field and drilled all four of his 3-point attempts. Lillard eventually fell off, kind of, as fatigue and improved defensive effort by the Jazz took over.
- Tempers were high throughout the game and the officials took notice. Five technical fouls were handed out, and Portland forward Trevor Ariza was ejected, while Royce O’Neale, Mitchell, Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr. all earned technicals of their own. The dismissal of Ariza and a concussion suffered by Anfernee Simons left the Trail Blazers shorthanded — they played with seven players the entire second half — and the Jazz ultimately took advantage.
Sunday, Feb. 9, at Houston, 5 p.m. MST
Monday, Feb. 10, at Dallas, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 12, vs. Miami, 7 p.m.