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Utah Jazz

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – In Western Conference big battle Blazers get the big roadwin.

David Locke

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SUMMARY: Jusuf Nurkic and the Blazers slice the Jazz apart in the third quarter and move onto a big Western Conference win on the road over the Utah Jazz.

• This was a big game. Jazz were looking to win the season series. Blazers had lost 9 of 12 on the road but had won 8 of 11 overall. The Jazz had won 6 straight. Last year the two teams played on the 82nd game of the season to determine who won the division. Tonight was the battle you would have anticipated.

• Through the 4th quarter the game had 13 lead changes and 12 ties and looked to be going down to the wire in a possession by possession battle but the Blazers went on a 23-8 run from the 10:38 mark in the 4th to the 2:45 in the 4th quarter.

• Game was tied at 89 then the Blazers got a three from Leonard, two more baskets and another three from Leonard as the Blazers went on a 10-2 run. The Jazz only points were Favors free throws. Rubio checked out of the game 89-86 as he hit his minutes restriction.

• Donovan missed his first 6 shots of the 4th quarter though he was able to get to the line three times in that stretch. Four of the misses were short mid range shots from 4 to 8 feet where the Blazers cut off the driving lane and forced Donovan into the floater range. Those are low percentage hard shots. Donovan got rolling after that scoring the next 14 points for the Jazz, but the time he got it going the Jazz were down 11 with 5:00 left and you don’t win that very often.

• The Jazz whipped up on the Blazers in the first two games by a combined 51 points. The Blazers came out in third quarter with some nice aggressiveness and great adjustments to open the floor for cutters and back door cuts. Nurkic was able to make Rudy guard at 15 feet and this open up the curl routes and the cutters.

• The Jazz have defended Lillard well this year having Rudy come up to the point of the screen and make the three an uncomfortable shot. The Blazers in the first half had just a 94 offensive rating and were just 1 of 5 from three.

• In the second half they were able to adjust and get 7 threes in 13 attempts

• Terry Stotts, the Blazers head coach has great admiration for Joe Ingles. Tonight Joe was 1 for 7 and 0 for 3 from three. Was this because the Blazers tried to take Joe away or the Jazz were unable to move the ball tonight to give Ingles good looks I am not sure. The Blazers drop Nurkic on the pick and roll with the purpose of not leaving any of the three point shooters.

• Kyle Korver was 0 for 5 and Evan Turner was a hard defensive matchup for the Jazz to deal with tonight.

• Interesting Portland closed with Lillard, CJ, Turner, Layman and Nurkic. Blazers are now 29-0 when they lead going into the 4th quarter.

• Ricky Rubio returned tonight and with a mintues restriction played 13 minutes while adding 12 points. He had 4 turnovers and the Jazz were +1 in his 13 minutes.

• Jazz shot 39.6% and 21.2% from three

• Jazz allowed 39 points in the 3rd quarter. Nurkic dominated the 3rd quarter after going 2 for 8 in the first half. He was 6 for 7 in the 3rd quarter with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 blocks in the quarter

• Lillard closed the door on the game 8 points on 3 of 8 shooting in the 4th quarter

• This is a big win for the Blazers who had been struggling on the road v. the West and a tough loss for the Jazz who start a crucial stretch of 5 games v. Western Conference foes that will determine where they stand heading into the February and the final part of the season.

David Locke enters his ninth year as the radio play-by-play voice of the Utah Jazz, having spent the majority of his career in radio in Salt Lake City and Seattle. In the summer of 2016, Locke created the Locked on Podcast Network which has podcast daily bite sized podcasts for every NBA and NFL team. A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Locke graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a degree in Political Science and Sociology. Locke and his wife have a son and a daughter.

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Utah Jazz

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