The Utah Jazz (31-39) take on the Portland Trail Blazers (44-25) tonight at EnergySolutions Arena at 7:00 PM as the Jazz will look to get back to .500 at home after falling to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday in overtime. The Portland Trail Blazers are looking to snap a 5-game skid after losing to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.
The Trail Blazers are likely to be without LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and Chris Kaman tonight. The Utah Jazz may be missing top scorer Gordon Hayward (Grade 1 left AC sprain) as he is listed as doubtful on the injury report. Rookie Rodney Hood (gastrointestinal distress) is out for tonight’s game. Damian Lillard had a team-high 19 points in a 92-76 Blazers loss at Salt Lake City on February 20 as Utah held Portland to season lows in both points and shooting percentage (36.1). Hayward led the Jazz with 20 points on February 20 after scoring 27 points in a 103-102 loss for the Jazz at Portland on February 3. Trey Burke will be looking to bounce back from his 4 of 22 shooting performance on Monday as he is averaging 18.0 per game in his past four match-ups against the Blazers.
Here is Rudy Gobert talking about tonight’s match-up with Portland:
After winning nine games out of 10, the Jazz have lost three of four to drop 9 1/2 games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the West’s final playoff spot with 12 games to go in the schedule for the Jazz. Utah has also taken a step back defensively, allowing 106 points in each of their last two games after giving up an average of 81.6 over the previous 11. Portland likes to run, the Jazz will have to step up their play defensively tonight against the Blazers as the Jazz only average 94.8 points per game. The Blazers average 102.7 points per game, which is 9th best in the NBA. The Jazz do remain best in the NBA in scoring defense at 95.0 points allowed per game. On thing that the Jazz will need to improve on tonight is their assist total. They are only averaging 20.1 assists per game, which is 28th best in the league. They need to look for open players and give them opportunities to make open shots.
Utah Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder talked with the media following shoot around. Here is that audio: