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Jefferson leads Jazz past Blazers 86-77

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 1, 2013 at 11:47 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013

The Blazers were on an upswing after a season-worst six-game losing streak. But they didn't have the offense this time to duplicate the 21-point comeback they had in a 106-104 victory over Dallas on Tuesday.

Utah's only blemish in the last nine games at home was a record-setting 125-80 loss to Houston. Like the Jazz, the Blazers are a different team away from home. Portland has averaged 102.3 points in three straight home wins, but has scored 90.7 points per game in dropping five of seven on the road.

"We had trouble scoring. We missed easy baskets, but you have those nights," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "They are a physical team in the paint and protect the paint very well so spacing becomes more important."

The Jazz and Blazers play all four of their season matchups in a two-month span, which may be good news for Utah's playoff hopes. Utah swept Portland last season and the same two teams face off Saturday night in Portland.

The Blazers are banged up and it's getting more dismal. Nicolas Batum scored just five points and often rubbed his sore right wrist in between plays.

While the Jazz fed Millsap and Jefferson in the post to the tune of 25 first-half points, the Blazers launched a bevy of errant jumpshots. The Jazz shot 61 percent on their way to a 51-36 advantage at the break.

"That's what we wanted to do. We wanted to come out, get to a good start and try punch them in the mouth early," Millsap said as the Blazers could never fully recover.

Notes: Lilliard received loud cheers in pregame introductions and when he made the first basket. "For them to cheer that loud when I came out meant a lot," the rookie said. ... Utah's Earl Watson left the court for the locker room with a sore leg in the first quarter and Millsap banged his left elbow and had to go to the bench for treatment in the third quarter. Both later returned but Watson didn't travel with the team so he could get an MRI on his lower right leg Saturday morning. ... Gordon Hayward, Utah's third-leading scorer, missed his third straight game with a right shoulder sprain and is doubtful for Saturday's rematch.