Millsap helps Jazz top Blazers to end skid at 3 (Yahoo! Sports)
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—Paul Millsap had 31 points, including a go-ahead dunk with 1:11 left, and pulled down 11 rebounds to help the Utah Jazz snap a three-game losing streak with a 102-97 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.
The Jazz held a 94-90 lead with 5 minutes to go, but LaMarcus Aldridge hit two straight jumpers to close the gap for the Blazers. Wesley Matthews made a 3-pointer for a 97-94 Blazers lead, but Al Jefferson hit a short jumper to pull the Jazz within one before Millsap’s dunk gave Utah back the lead. Jamaal Tinsley’s steal on a Portland inbound pass led to another dunk for Millsap to make it 100-97 and the Blazers couldn’t catch up.
Matthews led the Blazers with 33 points and Aldridge added 27.
All Jefferson had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who avoided matching their longest losing streak of the season. Utah dropped four straight from Feb. 19-28.
Portland led by as many as 14 in the first half but Utah pulled ahead with a 16-0 run bridging halftime.
The Jazz were hurt when they lost Devin Harris to a sprained left ankle in the first half. The starting point guard was averaging 10.1 points and 4.9 assists for Utah going into the game. Tinsley started in the second half in Harris’ place.
Portland, coming off a 119-106 victory over Minnesota the night before, was without Jamal Crawford, who has tendinitis in his right knee. But the Blazers did see the return of Joel Przybilla, who sat out against the Timberwolves because of a right knee sprain.
Portland went up early, taking a 27-17 lead on Aldridge’s dunk off an alley-oop from Matthews. Luke Babitt hit a 3-pointer that extended the lead to 43-29.
The Jazz closed the gap as the half wound down, pulling to 57-54 at the break.
Utah opened the second half on a 10-0 run, going up 64-57 on Millsap’s long jumper. The Jazz stretched the lead to as many as 11 but Portland rallied to pull within 71-69 on a dunk by Aldridge. J.J. Hickson’s dunk got the Blazers as close as 79-78, but the Jazz kept Portland at bay to take an 83-78 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Matthews hit a 3-pointer to pull Portland to 87-85 with 7:54 left.
Notes: Babbitt, in his second year with the Blazers, has flourished in recent games. He’s had multiple 3-pointers in six straight games. He’s been playing more than 15 minutes in his last five after seeing limited playing time earlier in the season. … The Jazz were coming off a 105-96 loss to the Clippers on Saturday. … Injured Jazz G Raja Bell had an injection in his injured left knee on Monday and remains out indefinitely, the team said. Bell has missed 11 games with the injury.