Damian Lillard and company are hoping to avenge a 20-point blowout loss to Donovan Mitchell and his squad during the season opener.
The Utah Jazz had five players make at least three 3-pointers, leading to the 120-100 rout. Lillard shot just 4-of-12 from the field, and CJ McCollum made only 7-of-19 as the Portland Trail Blazers' starting backcourt struggled against the Jazz defense.
Both teams are coming off a loss in their previous game. The Portland Trail Blazers succumbed to a 133-116 blowout loss to the LA Clippers on Tuesday, while the Utah Jazz suffered a heartbreaker in a 117-113 overtime setback to the Phoenix Suns.
Fixture - Portland Trail Blazers vs Utah Jazz | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Thursday, April 8th, 10:00 PM ET (Friday, April 9th, 7:30 AM IST)
Venue - Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
After four straight wins, the Portland Trail Blazers have lost two of their last three games and are looking to bounce back from the embarrassing loss to the LA Clippers. Damian Lillard shot terribly in the last two games, making just eight of his 29 attempts total and averaging 13.5 points.
He will be facing a tough competitor at the other end of the floor, with Mike Conley facilitating the offense and playing at an All-Star level this year. It will be up to Lillard to ensure that his team doesn't fall into bad habits when they take on the Utah Jazz, who are the best team in the league record-wise.
The Portland Trail Blazers are 27th in opponent’s points per game, giving up 115.2 points a night. They can’t afford to be lax on the defensive end because the Jazz, who are third-best in the NBA in points per game at 116.9, will exploit their every mistake.
Key Player - CJ McCollum
One of the most intriguing matchups for this game between the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz is the head-to-head between CJ McCollum and Donovan Mitchell.
McCollum is averaging 23.8 points per game this season and is shooting the three-ball with a 41.1 percent accuracy. After missing 25 straight games with a foot injury, the veteran guard has been playing up to his usual standards in the past seven games.
He will have to be on his toes defensively, as Mitchell is going to be coming right at him at the other end of the floor.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Damian Lillard l Shooting Guard - CJ McCollum l Small Forward - Norman Powell l Power Forward - Robert Covington l Center - Enes Kanter
Utah Jazz Preview
In a battle between the best teams in the NBA on Wednesday, the Phoenix Suns overcame the Utah Jazz and showed that they were legitimate title contenders. It was a contest that could have gone either way, with neither team budging until the minute of overtime.
Donovan Mitchell scored 41 points, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 10.4 seconds left in regulation. Bojan Bogdanovic had 20 points, while Rudy Gobert added 16 points, 18 rebounds and three steals to support Mitchell.
As the Utah Jazz head home to face the Portland Trail Blazers, fatigue is going to play a huge part, with four of their starters playing between 35 and 40 minutes last night.
The Jazz are now 38-13, a game-and-a-half ahead of the Suns. They will try and avoid a three-game skid when they battle the Blazers on Thursday.
Key Player - Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell didn’t shoot well against the Phoenix Suns, going 16-of-35 from the field, including 4-of-12 from beyond the arc.
Even though he tied the game and sent it to overtime, he will want to redeem himself when the Utah Jazz host the Portland Trail Blazers.
Mitchell had an entertaining mano-a-mano with shooting guard Devin Booker, who scored big (35 points) but also shot poorly (13-of-31 FGs / 0-of-6 3pt FGs).
There won’t be any rest for the weary, as Mitchell will go up against another top-flight shooter in McCollum. The undersized two-guards are undoubtedly pumped up to face one another tonight.
The 6-foot-1 Mitchell is averaging 25.4 points a game this season to go along with 4.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists.
Utah Jazz Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Mike Conley l Shooting Guard - Donovan Mitchell l Small Forward - Bojan Bogdanovic l Power Forward - Royce O’Neale l Center - Rudy Gobert
Blazers vs Jazz Match Prediction
Though the Utah Jazz will probably enter the contest a bit sluggish after their overtime game last night, expect them to recover their bearings just before halftime. That's when the Portland Trail Blazers will have to brace themselves.
In the end, however, Damian Lillard will likely snap out of his shooting slump. The Portland Trail Blazers will run as much as they can and will hand the Utah Jazz their third straight loss.