Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, right, drives to the basket on Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.
Steve Dykes, AP
The Utah Jazz lost to the Portland Trail Blazers, 134-124, on Wednesday night at the Moda Center in Portland.
The Jazz were able to hang around for most of the game, despite the fact that Damian Lillard scored 60 points, but the Jazz’s shots stopped falling and the defense wasn’t moving as well in the final minutes as the Blazers created separation and pulled away for the win.
Here are three keys that contributed to the Jazz’s loss:
Did I mention that Damian Lillard scored 60 points? He was incredible, hitting 21-of-29 overall, 9-of-15 from 3-point range and going 9-of-10 from the free throw line. He was truly in the zone and the Jazz were on the wrong end of it.
When a player like Lillard is just hitting everything no matter how close the defense is, you have to adjust your coverage, but putting more attention on a single player opens up the rest of the court and the Jazz’s defense wasn’t able to stop the bleeding by trying to deny Lillard. Instead, the Blazers found the open man and punished the Jazz’s slow rotations.
The Jazz were having an incredible shooting night up until the fourth quarter. After going 17-of-30 from deep through the first three quarters, the Jazz shot just 3-of-11 from distance in the final 12 minutes.