Utah Drops Final Preseason Game To Portland

Oct 16, 2019, 10:57 PM
Utah Jazz - Portland Trailblazers...
Portland Trail Blazers forward Zach Collins (33) catches a pass over Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) as the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers play a preseason game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, UtahUtah’s defense started out poorly and the Blazers were red hot in Portland’s 126-118 victory over the Jazz. Only a late run by Utah’s bench made this a respectable game.

It all felt fairly familiar. The Blazers started out on fire (much like the Kings did on Monday night) and the Jazz had to try and claw back into this contest. Utah did get back into the game and even took a 6 point lead in the 2nd quarter. At halftime, they were only down by 2.

The Jazz could not contain C.J. McCollum who finished with 28 points on 11-15 from the field and 5-7 from the 3-point line. Former Weber State star Damian Lillard scored 25 points on 8-13 shooting.

“We just haven’t had consistency,” said head coach Quin Snyder about his team’s defense. “We weren’t imposing our will and being the aggressor collectively.”

Snyder said they didn’t string together enough good defensive possessions. It also didn’t help that Lillard got some great looks at the basket, which seemed to get the rest of the Blazers going on offense. Portland shot 57.8% for the game and 55.6% from the 3 point line.

Donovan Mitchell is still encouraged with the times that the team did play well on defense.

“Now we just need to do it on a consistent basis,” said Mitchell. “We’ve been a defensive team since I’ve been here and since (Rudy Gobert) has been here. We just need to continue building that and ingraining that into everybody.”

Mitchell matched the potent offense of Portland’s guards in the first half, scoring 22 points on 8-13 shooting and making all of his 3-point shots. Mitchell only made 1 of 6 shots in the second half and finished with 27 points.

Mike Conley made 6-13 shots and finished with 20 points, 2 assists, and 3 turnovers.  

Meanwhile, the offensive woes continued for new forward Bojan Bogdanovic. He was 0-9 from the field in this game and 3-10 against the Kings on Monday night.

The Jazz had a hard time with Portland’s pick-and-roll game with Zach Collins setting the picks. Collins was the recipient of some wide-open shots and he took advantage, hitting all 6 attempts and finished with 13 points.  

“The good thing is that it hurts that we gave up that many points to all the teams we played against (in the preseason),” said 2-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, who finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds. “We feel like we need to keep improving. We take pride in (defense) and as long as we take pride in it we’re going to do whatever it takes to get better.”

Snyder said even if his team had played well defensively he would still believe they still have work to do.  The Jazz now have 6 days of work before beginning the regular season at home against Oklahoma City on October 23.

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