Trail Blazers vs Jazz Thursday, 10/07/10 AT 06:00PM

Trail Blazers Lose Game, Pendergraph In Utah

  1. Written by: caseyholdahl  / avg. rating: 5.0

    It's hard to come back from a double-digit deficient in any arena, and doing so at Energy Solutions Arena is even harder. But the Trail Blazers almost did the near impossible, rallying back from 18 points down before eventually losing to the Utah Jazz 100-96.

    After being outscored 31-15 in the first quarter, the Trail Blazers returned the favor by finishing the half on a 40-27 run to go into the half down just three points. Unfortunately for the Blazers, the second half played out about the same way, with the Jazz dominating the third before letting Portland back into the game in the fourth to make a game out of what had the looks of a laugher.

    The Trail Blazers bench, lead by Wesley Matthews, outplayed the starters once against. Matthews, in his return to Utah after playing his rookie season with the Jazz, lead all scorers with 21 points.

    “Our performance could have been better tonight, I would have loved to get out of here with a win," said Matthews.

    With the performance, Matthews became the first Trail Blazer to score 20 points in back-to-back preseason games since Zach Randolph did it Oct. 20-23, 2006. The second-year guard also tallied a team-high five assists.

    Dante Cunningham scored 18 points, his career-high in any NBA game, preseason or otherwise, and his ten rebounds were one shy of a career best.

    Rudy Fernandez picked up right where he left off Tuesday night against the Clippers by shooting 4-for-6 from three on the way to a 15-point performance. Fernandez also added four assists, four steals and two rebounds in 27 minutes.

    While the Trail Blazers aren't likely to dwell too long on a loss in the preseason, a loss of another kind might follow the team well into the regular season. Backup center Jeff Pendergraph sustained a knee injury while guarding Kyrylo Fesenko in the first quarter. Pendergraph was taken off the court in a wheelchair and will return to Portland for further evaluation.

    “We do now have to go out and find another big guy, for camp and possibly for the start of the season," said head coach Nate McMillan. "I think we have to look at getting another big guy. We are down to two bigs and Camby has an injury. We definitely need to look at bringing another guy into training camp.”
    Pendergraph did say on his twitter page that he was checked out by doctors in Utah and that the initial prognosis was "nothing major."

    Next up, the Trail Blazers travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets Friday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 PM.

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This photo: Aldridge In The Post At Utah / put this photo on your page

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