UTAH JAZZ

Gobert Responds To Lillard’s Best Defensive Center Comment

Dec 27, 2019, 10:53 AM | Updated: Feb 7, 2020, 12:36 pm
Damian Lillard - Rudy Gobert - Portland Trailblazers - Rudy Gobert...
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) defends Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019. Courtesy of Deseret News.
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert responded to Damian Lillard’s comment that Portland Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside was the best defensive center in the NBA.

Gobert’s response came during an interview after Utah’s 121-115 win over the Blazers on Thursday, December 26.

“I think Whiteside is the best defensive center, shot-blocking center in the league,” Lillard told the media prior to the matchup between Gobert and Whiteside.

Whiteside checked out of the game with 3:23 remaining in the third quarter and didn’t step back on the court during the final 15:23 of the game.

The Blazers center finished the game with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and a block. He committed 1 turnover and 3 personal fouls during his time on the floor.

Early in the first quarter, Jazz small forward faked out Whiteside for an easy layup.

Whiteside was a game-worst -28 plus-minus rating in 22 minutes. He played the lowest amount of any Portland starter in the loss.

Portland went to Lillard multiple times down the stretch. A massive block by Rudy Gobert on a shot attempt by the Blazers guard put the game away for Utah.

“Should have told his coach to put him in at the end,” said Gobert after the victory.

Gobert’s swat of Lillard’s shot came with 5.2 seconds remaining and Utah up four points.

The two-time defensive player of the year posted another game with a double-double against the Blazers. It was his fourteenth consecutive game with a double-double. He’s recorded a double-double in every game during the month of December.

Gobert was a perfect 7-7 from the field for 16 points. He pulled down 15 boards while adding 2 assists and the block in the Jazz’s 12th home win of the season.

The Jazz (19-12, 7-9 Away) head on the road to play the Los Angeles Clippers (23-10, 14-2 Home) on Saturday, December 28 at 8:30 p.m. (MDT).

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