Trail Blazers 94, Jazz 89
Rookie Brandon Roy scored 25 of his season-high 29 points in the second half and the Blazers held off the Jazz 94-89 on Wednesday night to snap a four-game losing streak.
“They played more inspired than us and harder than us,” Utah guard Derron Williams said. “They looked like the team that was trying to get home court advantage more than us.”
The Jazz, who have already clinched the Northwest Division, are in a race with the Houston Rockets for fourth in the West and the home court in the first round of the playoffs.
Utah trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, but closed in on Portland in the final minutes. Carlos Boozer had 21 points and 21 rebounds.
Travis Outlaw matched his career high with 22 points for the Blazers.
“They took it to us,” Boozer said. “We tried to fight back at the end but they made the plays to win the game.”
With the game tied at 87 with 1:03 left, Roy hit a pair of free throws to give Portland the lead. Gordan Giricek missed a 3-pointer for Utah, and Roy made two more free throws to make it 91-87 with 29.5 seconds left.
After another free throw from Roy, Giricek hit a 12-foot jumper and Utah closed to 92-89 with 7 seconds to go.
Roy added two more shots from the line for the final margin.
“They didn’t come in and play us lightly because we didn’t have a lot of guys,” Roy said. “They came hard for 48 minutes.”
The Blazers had just 11 players available for the game. The latest player out because of injury was rookie center LaMarcus Aldridge, who was taken to a local hospital during Saturday’s loss to the Clippers complaining of dizziness and an irregular heart beat.
After Aldridge wore a heart monitor for 24 hours, the Blazers announced that more tests were needed. He is out indefinitely.
Aldridge had earned a starting job after Joel Przybilla had season-ending knee surgery.
The Blazers last week lost leading scorer and rebounder Zach Randolph with a hand injury that required surgery.
Coach Nate McMillan said his team, at least in this instance, got what he has tried to impart: “If you go out and play hard every night, and you play together, and you meet the challenge, you win games.”
Travis Outlaw had back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Trail Blazers a 28-23 lead early in the second quarter. Outlaw had 16 first-half points.
The Jazz, who led by as many as six points early, went ahead 37-35 on Paul Milsap’s layup.
Andrei Kirilenko’s dunk as time ran out in the first half put Utah narrowly up 45-43.
Roy, the league’s rookie of the month for the past three months, made it 65-60 for Portland with a 3-pointer.
Fred Jones’ 3-pointer capped a 13-point run and made it 73-60 for the Blazers.
Boozer’s jumper narrowed it to 81-77 and Giricek added a 3-pointer to make it 81-80. Boozer gave the Jazz the lead with a layup and a free throw.
The only downside to the Blazers’ victory was that it may have knocked the Blazers back a bit when it comes to potential draft order.
Roy could care less.
“As long as I’m on the court, I’m going to keep trying to hurt that lottery selection,” he said. “I’m playing to win.”
The Blazers will retire the No. 14 jersey worn by Lionel Hollins, a guard on the 1977 championship team, during the season finale April 18 against the Golden State Warriors. Hollins will be the sixth member of the franchise’s only championship team to have his number retired, joining Dave Twardzik, Larry Steele, Maurice Lucas, Bill Walton and Lloyd Neal. Clyde Drexler and Geoff Petrie have also had their numbers retired.