(Sports Network) - The Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers begin a home-and-
home series Friday night when the two sides meet up in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz are playing solid basketball with seven wins in their last nine
games. Utah's most recent victory came on Wednesday night at home against the
New Orleans Hornets.
Paul Millsap led the way for the Jazz with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Al
Jefferson scored 22 and Derrick Favors (15), Marvin Williams (11) and Randy
Foye (14) all scored in double digits.
It was a gutty performance for the Jazz, who came off the franchise's worst
home loss in history on Monday, a 125-80 drubbing at the hands of the Houston
"It's tough to let a game like that go," Millsap said of Monday's loss. "We
let it go and came out tonight (and) it seemed like it was getting ready to go
that way again, but we got it going and won the game."
Gordon Hayward missed another game with a sprained right shoulder.
After Friday's game, the sides head to Portland Saturday night.
The Blazers are also playing well with three wins in their last four games.
All three of those victories came at home and Portland ended a four-game home
Portland last played on Tuesday in a 106-104 victory over the Dallas
Mavericks. The win was not without controversy as All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge
drained his first 3-pointer of the season to tie the game. O.J. Mayo was
called for an offensive foul and Aldridge took the inbounds pass and made a
fadeaway jumper as the buzzer rang to give the Blazers the victory.
"This is what you live for," said Aldridge.
The controversy stemmed from the offensive call on Mayo. The NBA admitted the
charge call was incorrect, but it still went down in the win column for the
Aldridge finished with 29 points and 13 rebounds, his 11th double-double of
January. J.J. Hickson was almost as brilliant with 26 points and 15 boards.
All five starters scored in double figures, as is the case with Portland, but
the bench only managed 14 points.
Just past the halfway point in the season, this game is an important one. The
Jazz are currently the seventh seed in the Western Conference playoff picture
and Portland is a half-game outside the Rockets, who are the eighth seed.
The Jazz, who are 16-5 at home this season, swept all four games with Portland
last season, but the Blazers captured three of four the previous season.
The Sports Network