Jazz 118, Trail Blazers 105
Deron Williams called it an easy night – just pass the ball and
whoever caught it was likely to score.
It’s been that way lately for the Williams and the Utah Jazz,
who increased their season-high winning streak to seven with a
118-105 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday
“I like it. I’d rather do this,” said Williams, who had 13
points and 13 assists to help the Jazz beat the Blazers for the
second time in a week.
Williams has been averaging 19 points this season – second only
to Carlos Boozer for the Jazz – but Utah had plenty of other
players scoring Wednesday night.
Mehmet Okur had a scored a season-high 28 points and had eight
rebounds, and Andrei Kirilenko added 22 points, eight assists and
six rebounds for Utah.
Paul Millsap had 12 points and eight rebounds, rookie Wesley
Matthews had 16 points and C.J. Miles scored 10.
Every Utah player that took a shot made at least one as the Jazz
made 42 of 67 shots for their highest shooting percentage this
season. Kirilenko was 8 for 9 and Matthews made all six of his
“We passed the ball real well tonight,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan
said. “For the most part we passed it to guys that were open and
we got some easy baskets.”
Utah shot over 70 percent (24 for 34) in the second half and
finished with 32 assists on 42 field goals. The Jazz beat the Trail
Blazers for the second time in a week and improved to 3-0 in the
Northwest Division rivalry this season.
Utah outscored Portland 62-38 in the paint and did it without
Boozer, who missed his third straight game with a strained right
“We weren’t even close to stopping these guys,” Portland coach
Nate McMillan said. “It was poor defense all around. We didn’t
control the ball, which allowed them to get into the paint and then
drop it for easy baskets.”
LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead the
Blazers, playing their eighth straight game without scoring leader
Brandon Roy (right hamstring).
Martell Webster added 20 points, and Jerryd Bayless finished
with 14 points, but the Blazers continued to struggle without Roy.
Portland is 3-5 since Roy was injured on Jan. 20 against
Philadelphia and has fallen to No. 8 in the Western Conference
“We think about it every day,” Aldridge said. “We know that
every game is important and are trying to fight and get back up in
Utah was 24 for 34 in the second half and used an 8-1 run late
in the fourth quarter to finally pull away from Portland.
The Blazers got to 97-90 on a jumper by Aldridge, then Utah was
able to outrun Portland for a brief stretch that clinched it.
Williams started it with a a defensive rebound, then drove all
the way down the court and dished it off at the last second to
Matthews for a layup. Matthews followed with another layup,
Kirilenko added a dunk and Okur hit a long jumper that gave the
Jazz a 105-91 lead with 3:46 left.
Next up for Utah is Saturday against Denver, which leads the
division and is the last team to beat the Jazz.
“We’ve been clicking. We figured out our identity,” Matthews
said. “We’ve had stretches where we haven’t played as great, but
unlike earlier in the season, we didn’t let that get us down.”
NOTES: About 20 members of the U.S. Olympic team got a standing
ovation when they were introduced between the first two periods.
The group posed for a picture at mid-court as a few fans started
chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” … The Jazz beat the Blazers 106-95 the
week before in Portland. … Juwan Howard had 10 rebounds for