Mitchell has 27 points, Jazz beat the Blazers 115-96
By ANNE M. PETERSON
Feb. 12, 2018
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder isn't keeping track of those wins just yet.
Utah's winning streak stood at nine on Sunday night after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers 115-96. Donovan Mitchell scored 27 points and newcomer Jae Crowder had 15 in his Jazz debut.
To Snyder, the Jazz still have a ways to go.
"It's nice that there's a streak because it means we won, but as far as tallying things, no one is taking chalk and putting anything on the board, or carving something on a tree," Snyder said. "We just need to play basketball, and that's what we need to keep doing."
Joe Ingles added 24 points for the Jazz, who were playing without Ricky Rubio because of a sore hip. It is Utah's longest winning streak since also stringing together nine in 2010.
Damian Lillard, coming off a 50-point game against Sacramento on Friday night, had 39 points for Portland. The Blazers had won nine in a row at home.
Utah, which trailed most of the first half, took over in the second half and stretched the lead to 89-65 on Jonas Jerebko's 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter.
CJ McCollum's layup got the Blazers to 100-88 with 2:37 left
Rudy Gobert had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Derrick Favors added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz.
Crowder, acquired in a three-team trade from the Cavaliers at the deadline this week, made his first appearance with the Jazz, entering the game with 6:12 left in the first quarter. Crowder's dad, Corey, played for the Jazz in the 1991-92 season.
"He doesn't know all the plays, but he's been great defensively and he knocked down some big shots," Gobert said about Crowder. "He's a smart player, he he's going to fit in prey well."
Rubio left Friday night's game against the Charlotte Hornets in the third quarter with left hip soreness. The Jazz won 106-94. Averaging 12.3 points and 5.2 assists, Rubio was replaced by rookie Royce O'Neale, who made his first NBA start.
The Blazers were coming off a 118-100 victory at Sacramento on Friday. Lillard scored 50 points through three quarters in that game.
Lillard hit a jumper over Crowder's outstretched arm and added a free throw to give the Blazers a 26-19 lead at the end of the opening quarter. Portland stretched the lead to 30-19.
Favors came down hard in the second quarter was holding his right ankle, but then dunked on the other end to close the Jazz to 30-26.
Crowder hit a 3-pointer that pulled the Jazz to 39-36, but they couldn't get closer until Gobert dunked and had a pair of free throws to get Utah within 44-43 at halftime.
Lillard led all players at the half with 13 points. No Jazz players were in double figures.
Utah pulled into a 53-56 lead to open the second half, with Joe Ingles hitting a pair of 3-pointers. The Jazz outscored the Blazers 22-5 to go ahead 65-49, capped by Donovan Mitchell's 3-pointer.
Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic went to the locker room in the third quarter. The team said he had low back soreness and right hip pain.
"I'm disappointed with the loss," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "The first quarter started out great, it was basically a one-point game at halftime, it just got away from us in the second half. You start to look at the standings and this was a big game."
The Blazers are in sixth place in the Western Conference, while the Jazz sit in 10th.
Jazz: On Saturday the Jazz released Derrick Rose, acquired from in the three-team trade from Cleveland. ... Sacramento waived Johnson on Sunday. ... The Jazz signed Naz Mitrou-Long to a 10-day contract Sunday. Mitrou-Long appeared in 32 games for the Salt Lake City Stars of the G-League, averaging 16.7 points and 6.1 rebounds. He was signed to a two-way contract with the Jazz earlier this season and also spent training camp with the team.
Trail Blazers: Lillard joined teammate McCollum and Klay Thompson as the only players this season to score 50 points in less than 30 minutes. ... Portland's home winning streak was their longest since 2009, when they won 12 in a row.
Lillard now has the second-most 3-pointers for a player in his first six NBA seasons (1,193). With his first on Sunday night he passed Golden State's Steph Curry. Klay Thompson has the most with 1,328.
Lillard did not mince words when it came Mitchell.
"I think he should be Rookie of the Year for sure, not just because of his numbers but his impact on their team. He's basically leading them and it's special to see a rookie be able to do what he's doing out there. He's able to get to the rim, he shoots the ball with ease, just not afraid - really aggressive," Lillard said.
Jazz: Host San Antonio on Monday night.
Trail Blazers: Host Golden State on Wednesday night.