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Trail Blazers regain shooting touch against Jazz

The SportsXchange

PORTLAND, Ore. -- On Friday night, Portland shot 36.7 percent from the field and scored a season low in an 86-77 loss to Utah at EnergySolutions Arena.

Imagine the satisfaction coach Terry Stotts felt as the Trail Blazers improved to 50.7 percent in a 105-99 victory over the Jazz Saturday night at the Rose Garden.

"Twenty-four hours makes a difference," Stotts said. "(Friday) night, we couldn't score against them. Tonight, we did a much better job."

Damian Lillard scored 23 points and had eight assists as Portland outdueled Utah down the stretch to snap a five-game losing streak in the series with the Jazz.

J.J. Hickson chipped in 21 points and 11 rebounds, LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 11 boards and Nicolas Batum came within an assist of a triple-double for Portland (24-23). Batum finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Randy Foye scored 23 points and Paul Millsap collected 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Jazz (26-22).

Portland reserves Nolan Smith (13 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field), Luke Babbitt (eight points) and Will Barton (seven points) made big contributions.

"That's the best the bench has played all year," Batum said. "All the guys who came in tonight were ready. That was big for us."

Utah extended a three-point halftime lead to 63-53 on three 3-pointers by Foye midway through the third quarter. The Blazers responded with a 14-0 run, as Will Barton's driving layup gave them a 67-63 edge.

"We had a nice little flow going. We missed a few layups point-blank and they started that little run," Millsap said.

Utah tied the score at 79 on Alec Burks' 3-pointer with 8:15 remaining. Portland then used an 11-4 spurt to go ahead 90-83 with 4:41 to play. It was 90-87 with 3:51 left when Smith buried a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 93-87.

The Jazz closed to 99-96 on Foye's 3-pointer with 33.9 seconds remaining. Hickson's two free throws with 19.9 seconds left made it 101-96. Foye answered with a foul shot at 15.8 to cut the margin to 101-97, but Hickson nailed down the win by making two free throws with 14.5 seconds to go.

"We played hard," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We made some mistakes. We had the 10-point lead but got away from executing a little bit and they made a run at us. I felt good about our opportunity to come back, but we just couldn't get over" the hump.

NOTES: Utah had won nine of its previous 11 games. ... Portland won the rebound battle 49-37 after losing it 47-40 the previous night. The Jazz "had a spurt in the middle of the fourth where they kind of controlled the boards, but we locked back in," Hickson said. "That was a point of emphasis for us tonight." ... Portland leads the NBA with 11 wins this season after trailing at halftime (11-16 record). ... The Blazers are 8-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or better. ... Hickson notched his 26th double-double of the season. ... Portland made 10 of 18 3-point attempts and Utah was 8 for 19 from beyond the arc. ... Both teams were short-handed. Portland was without starting shooting guard Wesley Matthews (ankle), reserve point guard Ronnie Price (ankle) and reserve forward Sasha Pavlovic (foot). Utah was minus starting point guard Mo Williams (hand), reserve point guard Earl Watson (knee) and reserve forward Gordon Hayward (shoulder). Matthews said he hopes to play Monday when the Blazers open a six-game road trip at Minnesota. ... Corbin said Hayward is day to day and that Williams, who underwent hand surgery on Jan. 7, will see the surgeon on Feb. 15 to check the healing process and decide whether or not the pin can be removed.

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