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Preview: Trail Blazers Can Strike The Right Tune In Utah

04/06/11
  1. Written by: ShalamarClark  / avg. rating: 4.0



    The last time Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams met, Matthews led all scorers with 30 points to inch the Portland Trail Blazers one game away from their first series win against the Utah Jazz in three years.

    Both teams will go at it one more time when Portland (45-33) tries to get its third consecutive win over Utah (37-41) on Thursday at EnergySolutions Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM. 

    The Trail Blazers’ eight-game home streak was snapped in Tuesday’s 108-87 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Despite the loss, Portland still managed to clinch a berth in the playoffs.

    Matthews and LaMarcus Aldridge teamed up for 17 points apiece with Aldridge also grabbing 12 rebounds. The Trail Blazers’ shooting was just off target, making 34-of-83 from the floor and only 3-of-21 from beyond the arc as Monte Ellis led the Warriors with 30 points.

    Portland moved down to the seventh spot in the Western Conference behind No. 6 New Orleans, which holds the same record. The Trail Blazers are still one game in front of No. 8 Memphis. 

    With four games left, Portland's chance at a favorable first-round matchup will be put at risk on the road, where the team has struggled 1-5 in their last meetings.

    Luckily for the Trail Blazers, they have won the last two matchups against the Jazz, who had won five straight outings before that.

    On Dec. 30, Matthews hit four threes on his way to his 30 points and Aldridge posted 27 in the 100-89 win over the Jazz at home. Andre Miller had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Marcus Camby hauled in a season-high 20 rebounds and added four points for the Trail Blazers.

    Williams led Utah with 19 points and eight assist and Al Jefferson scored 13 points and 10 rebounds. Paul Millsap had 17 points and Gordon Hayward chipped in with 11 in the loss. 

    The Jazz finally snapped its longest eight-game losing streak in Los Angeles, where Millsap put up 22 points and seven rebounds to squeeze by the Lakers 86-85 on Tuesday.   

    Hayward scored a career-high 22 points and hit a free throw with six seconds left in the fourth to give the Jazz the one-point edge. Derrick Favors and Jefferson both ended with a double-double for Utah. Favors had 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Jefferson registered 11 points and 11 rebounds.

    Portland will be without Greg Oden and Elliot Williams, who are both out with knee injuries.

    For the Jazz, Mehmet Okur will not play due to a lower back injury. Raja Bell (foot), Kyrylo Fesenko (thumb), Andrei Kirilenko (knee) and Ronnie Price (shin) are listed as questionable. Devin Harris (hamstring) is a game-time decision.

    Watch the Trail Blazers on TNT and Comcast SportsNet Channel 37 with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice. You can also listen to the live play-by-play from Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey on 95.5 FM The Game. 

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