Trail Blazers topple Jazz 111-99

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 11, 2014 at 11:41 pm •  Published: April 11, 2014
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Portland's Damian Lillard just needed to make one shot to get going.

Once he saw that go down, he went on a fourth-quarter scoring flurry.

"That first 3 felt real good," Lillard said. "Once that went down, I felt if I got another clean look, I'm gonna raise up again. And then it happened a couple more times."

Lillard scored 14 of his 16 points in a key run to rally the Portland Trail Blazers past the Jazz 111-99 on Friday night.

"On the offensive end, I need to tell my teammates what's coming. As a point guard, you're the head of the team," Lillard said.

But even the second-year guard didn't know when his offense would start flowing.

When it finally did, the Jazz had no answer.

Wesley Matthews had 21 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 14 rebounds — his 40th double-double — and Nicolas Batum added 15 points to keep Portland in the race to host a first-round playoff series.

Derrick Favors scored 21 points and Enes Kanter had 15 points and 13 rebounds, but the Jazz have lost eight of nine.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Jazz led by two and Lillard hadn't converted a single field goal.

Over the next 3:24, Lillard made four 3-pointers and a pair of free throws.

"We closed out with our hands down," Utah coach Ty Corbin said. "But give them credit, they made plays down the stretch."

After that, the Blazers led by double-digits for the first time at 96-85 with 6:28 remaining and soon earned their seventh victory in their past eight games.

"He hit those 3s and he just kind of felt it. Those 3s really turned the momentum of the game," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "Damian just took it on himself to make something happen."

Marvin Williams was out with a knee bruise and the Jazz started the five players that figure to be the core as they rebuild.

The quintet — Gordon Hayward, Favors, Kanter, Trey Burke and Alec Burks — are all 23 years or younger and have gained experience during this often-frustrating season for a franchise that once made the playoffs 20 years in a row.

Burks has primarily filled the sixth-man role while veteran Richard Jefferson had been the only Utah player to start (and play) every game this season.