Dec 6, 2013; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Wesley Matthews (2) celebrates with Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) and center Robin Lopez (42) during the first quarter of the game against the Utah Jazz at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers Butcher Utah Jazz 130-98

The Trail Blazers used a 39-point first quarter and a 40-point third quarter to completely embarrass the Jazz 130-98. Portland’s starters dominated poor Utah, and by dominated I mean took them apart methodically, piece-by-piece, and without mercy.

For context on just how dominant the Blazers were: Robin Lopez recorded a +31, Damian Lillard was +35, Wes Matthews was +36, and Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge were a silly +44 and +45 respectively. None of the Blazer starters touched the floor after the third quarter, and no Blazer played more than 29 minutes, which is good news since they’re on the first game of a back-to-back.

The beatdown was pretty thorough, save for a Utah Jazz mini-run in the second quarter. The Blazers got up by more than 20 before the Jazz pulled it to within single digits, ending the first half down just 11. Then the Blazers said, “enough already,” and unleashed an otherworldy fury, holding the Jazz to just 13 points and scoring 40 of their own to push an 11-point halftime lead to 38 (yes, 38) by the end of the 3rd. The bench got some good run and held their own, and the Jazz were left spinning.

While there was never any doubt about the outcome in this one, I did tell our editor David before the game that Damian Lillard would get to 40. He had 21 in the first half alone, shooting 7-9 and 5-6 from three. He didn’t take a shot in the 3rd, and as mentioned didn’t play in the fourth, finishing with 21 points with 6 assists, 3 boards, a steal and a block in only 25 minutes; an excellent game from him. He could have gone for 40+ if he wanted to.

LaMarcus Aldridge was his usual MVP-level self. He shot 7-14 for 20 points with 15 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in just 29 minutes.

Wesley Matthews was silly efficient, shooting 8-11 and 4-6 from deep for his 24 points in 28 minutes. Just ridiculous.

Robin Lopez didn’t have his best game, but it was more than enough. He went for 8 and 6 with a block.

Nicolas Batum shot 5-6 and 3-3 from three for his 13 points, with 7 rebounds and 3 assists. More efficiency insanity.

The bench got a super extended run, and every active Trail Blazer on the roster saw at least 9 minutes of court time. Of note: Allen Crabbe hit his two threes and got 8 points, Joel Freeland was his usual disruptive self and got 4 and 3 with a block, and Thomas Robinson gets the (bench) game ball, going 4-7 for 13 points and 6 rebounds.

One more thing about LaMarcus Aldridge: he’s totally unstoppable going to the middle. He’s fallen in love with his spin-to-the-lane drives, and boy, it’s quite the sight to behold. If he doesn’t make the shot, he’s fouled. His aggressiveness has not been lacking, and for those of us who waited a few years for him to start getting abusive in the post, now is our time.

Lillard was dialed in as much as he has been… maybe ever. He and the rest of Portland was waiting for his shooting stroke to unhitch, and it did in glorious fashion. As mentioned before, if this game had mattered, he would have gotten 40 or more.

The Blazers lead ballooned when they played tough defense, and shrank when they eased up. It seems obvious, but more and more it looks like the only thing that can keep this Blazers team from success is themselves.

Portland has won at least 17 of its first 20 games for just the third time in franchise history, getting 19 in 1990-91 and 17 in 1977-78. The Trail Blazers were also a mind-boggling 17-23 from deep. Those 17 threes are a franchise record, by the way. Just, wow. Until this game, the Blazers’ largest margin of victory was “just” 15. They won this one by 32. That will help those margin of victory numbers a bit.

Just for fun, let’s bust out the calculators and see what the starters would have gotten had they played 36 minutes: Lopez 12 and 9; Aldridge 24 and 18; Matthews 30 points; Batum 16 and 9; Lillard 30 and 9 asissts. Wowzers.

More fun facts:



No rest for the victors as the 17-3 Blazers take on the 12-8 Dallas Mavericks at the RoseModa GardenCenter tomorrow (Saturday) at 7 p.m. PST.

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Tags: Damian Lillard LaMarcus Aldridge Portland Trail Blazers

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