Hits and Flops: Portland Trail Blazers vs Utah Jazz
Nurkic and Lillard put together a 39-point third quarter for their team as the visiting Trailblazers snapped Jazz's six-game winning streak and took an impressive 109-104 road victory in Utah. In a matchup between two surging NBA teams, Portland outperformed Utah in almost all aspects of the game to eventually come out on top.
The Portland Trailblazers have now won six of their last eight games and currently sit at the 4th spot out West with a 29-19 (0.604) win-loss record to their name. Dame and co. clinched their third straight win in a row as the team shot 50% from the floor and dropped an imposing 60 points in the paint.
On the other hand, the Utah Jazz's heartbreaking loss at home was just their second in nine games, as they seem to back on track after being pounded by the tough early-season schedule.
Their recent surge capped with their latest loss to Portland has them seated at the 8th position with a 26-22 (0.542) record, still 7.5 games below West's apex. They are next in line to face the formidable force in Denver Nuggets.
Let's dive into this encounter in Utah and demarcate some of the best and worst individual performances from the night.
Hit: Jusuf Nurkic
It was not even a week ago that the Bosnian Beast had recorded his first career triple in a matchup against the Cavaliers. Although he could not notch his second in this game, his impact across the floor was felt by the opponents throughout the 48 minutes of the game.
Against the Jazz who have displayed some of the toughest defences to break through in the past 10 games, Nurkic dropped 17 points in the third quarter alone and put his team in a position to win the game. He ended up scoring 22 points, along with eight boards, seven assists and tied his career-high with six blocks in the game.
"He was huge. They blocked a few of his shots but we just kept giving it to him in the paint and he figured it out. He got his timing down and getting into Rudy's body. He started rolling," Lillard said.
Gobert and Crowder tried to trash talk his way into making him fumble but the Portland center was unflinching from the word go,
"They started talking a little bit too much," Nurkic said. "But I'm too busy to have all those conversations."
He played for 32 minutes before being fouled out and shot a decent 8-of-17 from the field on the night.