Not going to spend a ton of time with this one since it was the second time in a week the Blazers got the Cable Guy treatment from the Jazz. Not to grind this point into your skull, but with the current roster there is no other team in the league the Blazers match up worse with.
That being said, the Blazers at least hung in there by working the ball around in their sets and only trailed by eight at the half despite allowing 60 points and an ungodly amount of points in the paint (62 for the game). And then the third quarter happened, which was like an old-school Mario level where you have to reach the finish before the spiked ceiling slowly pancakes you or the lava rises up to devour you and all your super mushrooms and turn you into plumber toast. Either way, you’re a breakfast food.
It didn’t take any crushing blow, either. The Jazz just methodically broke Portland down with dunk after free-throw after dunk, using a quick 12-5 run in the third to prove that they were the superior beings. Could the Blazers’ defense have been better? Sure. But when you allow the other team to shoot 29-of-35 (!) at the rim, the problems run a little deeper than some missed defensive rotations. Besides, the Blazers shot 9-of-29 from 16-23 feet. They don’t win when that happens, whether they can get stops or not.
27-12-5 with 15 free-throw attempts out of LaMarcus Aldridge has to impress even the most stubborn haters among you. He was physical in his own right, getting his body on guys to secure boards, drawing contact and running the floor. He looked like a player who knew that without him, the team would get utterly destroyed by Utah’s bigs. That happened regardless, but Aldridge at least gave Portland a true four-quarter lifespan. This was the Aldridge you want to see someday in a tough playoff series.
No need to linger on this one any more than that. The Blazers were expected to lose, they did, and it sounds like they may have avoided serious injuries to Jerryd Bayless and Nic Batum. Time for the Spurs. Or, as I like to call them, Los Spurs.