Trail Blazers 109, Jazz 105
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Clifford Robinson scored 25 points, hitting 4-for-6 from 3-point range, as the Portland Trail Blazers rebounded from their embarassing season-opening loss to Vancouver to beat the Utah Jazz 109-105 Sunday night.
Arvydas Sabonis, the 7-foot-3 Lithuanian playing in his second NBA game, had eight points and seven rebounds in the fourth quarter, as the Blazers pulled away for the victory. He finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Rod Strickland added 18 points for Portland, six in the last 2:18. Harvey Grant scored 16 and rookie Gary Trent 12.
Robinson made just nine of a career-high 19 free throws, but he was on-target from long range. His 3-pointer with 7:48 to play put Portland ahead for good, 89-86.
Sabonis’ hook shot with 3:31 to play put Portland ahead 98-94, and after Karl Malone made a 14-footer to make it 98-96, Sabonis followed with an inside basket to give the Blazers a four-point lead 2:55 from the finish.
Malone scored 26 before fouling out with 1:56 to play. His final foul came when he missed a jumper and climbed over Sabonis’ back in an attempt to get the rebound. Jeff Hornacek scored 25 for the Jazz, going 11-for-12 from the free throw line.
The Blazers looked nothing like the lethargic team that lost at home to the expansion Grizzlies 92-80 Friday night. Portland shot 52 percent, compared to 36 percent in the opener, and had 16 turnovers, compared to 26 against Vancouver.
Utah, which opened at home with a 112-94 victory over Seattle Friday, committed 24 turnovers against the Blazers, leading to 30 points for Portland.
The Jazz led 66-57 on Malone’s inside basket with 4:53 left in the third quarter. But Robinson’s 3-point bank shot capped a 9-0 run that gave Portland a 75-73 one second before the end of the third quarter.
Bryon Russell’s 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Utah a 76-75 lead heading into the final period.