PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—Portland’s reserves get credit for this victory.
The starters got the points, but it was the subs that gave the Trail Blazers a push when it was needed most in a 98-88 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.
“That’s what it’s going to take for us to win—we’ve got to get all our guys involved,” said high-scorer Zach Randolph, who passed the praise on to Ruben Patterson, Darius Miles, Joel Przybilla and rookie Sebastian Telfair.
The Blazers led by as many as 11 points, but the Jazz narrowed the gap and even took a short-lived lead late in the third quarter before Portland regained control.
Miles, who missed the trip to Utah because of a bruised right heel, helped spark Portland’s comeback with a dunk that gave the Blazers a 73-70 lead early in the fourth quarter. Przybilla’s bank shot to beat the shot clock pushed the lead to 10, 82-72.
“We came off and contributed a lot for the team,” Patterson said. “That’s what we’ve got to do every game.”
Randolph led the Blazers with 23 points and seven rebounds, while Derek Anderson and Damon Stoudamire each added 15 points. Patterson and Miles finished with 10 each, while Przybilla had nine rebounds and four points.
“Ruben and Darius and Sebastian gave us a huge lift, with great defense. And Przybilla had probably his best stretch this season,” Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said.
“Those bench guys killed us. Ruben came in and got two quick baskets. … Then Miles comes in and gets out in the open court and we can’t stop him,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
The two teams had just played on Friday night in Salt Lake City, where the Jazz won 92-87 in overtime to snap a six-game losing streak. After forcing the extra period with Stoudamire’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer, the Blazers fizzled in overtime.
They were more comfortable at home, taking a 46-36 lead on Shareef Abdur-Rahim’s 3-pointer en route to a 50-42 halftime lead.
The Jazz caught up in the third quarter, squeezing Portland’s lead to 61-60 on Okur’s dunk, then taking the lead on Harpring’s layup.
It didn’t last long.
“After we got the lead, their intensity picked up and then they got a big run early in the fourth,” Utah guard Carlos Arroyo said. “They bounced back and we didn’t respond.”
The Jazz were without center Jarron Collins, who was placed on the injured list before the game with a right knee strain. Utah activated center Curtis Borchardt, who had been out since Nov. 30 with inflammation in his right foot.
Blazers guard Nick Van Exel, who also missed Friday’s game against the Jazz because of a hip pointer, was on the bench in street clothes on Sunday. … The Blazers are headed out for a six-game road trip, their longest of the season, starting Tuesday in Minnesota. Portland doesn’t play at the Rose Garden again until Dec. 27. … Collins has averaged 4.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 17.9 minutes per game this season, and has made 16 starts, while Borchardt averaged 1.9 points and 2.8 rebounds in 9.8 minutes in 12 games. … Randolph had just four points at the half. … Telfair had eight points in 17 minutes.