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Preview: Trail Blazers v. Jazz, 5 PM

04/25/12
  1. Written by: trailblazers  / avg. rating: 4.0


    After wrapping up the Western Conference's final postseason berth in their most recent contest, the Jazz seek a season sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers when the teams conclude the regular season Thursday night in Salt Lake City. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 PM on CSNNW and 750 AM.

    The Trail Blazers (28-37) are finishing a tumultuous season during which they fired coach Nate McMillan, lost LaMarcus Aldridge to injury, waived oft-injured former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden and dealt with the retirement of former All-Star Brandon Roy.

    Interim coach Kaleb Canales may only have one game remaining to lead the Blazers, who are 8-14 since he took over for McMillan on March 16.

    Portland will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and enters its finale having lost a season-high six straight following Monday's 124-89 defeat at conference-leading San Antonio.

    Wesley Matthews, who averaged 9.4 points in his rookie season with the Jazz before signing with the Blazers prior to last season, scored a team-high 24 on Monday and seemed to imply this season can't end soon enough.

    "If we knew we were going into the playoffs, of course we're going to keep playing," Matthews said. "But now, short-handed, nine players -- I'm never going to say I'm looking forward to not playing basketball. But the season's winding down for us and we got one more left."

    Matthews has averaged 28.0 points in the last two meetings with Utah, but the Blazers lost both at home.

    Portland now looks to avoid being swept by the Jazz, who won 112-91 behind 27 points from Devin Harris in the most recent meeting April 18. Paul Millsap keyed Utah's first two wins in the season series, averaging 25.0 points and 13.0 boards. Millsap had 26 points and 15 rebounds in Utah's playoff-clinching victory against the Suns Tuesday  night.

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