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Lillard shines, but Blazers fall to Jazz


SALT LAKE CITY — Al Jefferson scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, the biggest reason for Utah’s 86-77 victory over the Trail Blazers Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

Portland (23-23) trailed by as many as 17 points and made a late but futile run at the Jazz (26-21), getting to within five points in the final four minutes.

Damian Lillard, who played collegiately at nearby Weber State, scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half to lead the Blazers, who shot only .367 from the field.

Utah was on top 58-41 early in the third quarter after back-to-back 3-pointers by Randy Foye when Lillard got going, scoring nine straight Portland points to draw the Blazers to within 62-50.

Lillard had 14 points in the quarter but Portland still entered the final period trailing 73-61.

The Blazers kept whittling away at the Utah lead, with Lillard’s 3 cutting the margin to 80-75 with four minutes left. The Jazz answered with six straight points to go ahead 86-75, and it was over.

Utah led 51-36 at halftime, badly outshooting Portland (.611 to .326) and hammering the Blazers on the boards (24-13).

Portland led 17-14 early but missed nine straight shots, spurring an 11-0 Utah run that produced a 25-17 advantage. The Jazz were on top 26-19 after one quarter and hiked the margin to 17 at 49-32 before settling for a 15-point edge at the break.

Paul Millsap had 13 points, Jefferson 12 and DeMarre Carroll 10 — the latter coming off the bench to make 4 of 4 shots from the field — by intermission.

NOTES — Portland and Utah match up again Saturday night at the Rose Garden. ... Portland guard Wesley Matthews was carried off the floor with a right ankle injury late in the third quarter. X-rays were negative. ... Lillard was 3 for 10 from the field and had six points, three assists and two turnovers in the first half. ... Foye knocked down three treys in the third quarter but was 4 for 17 from the field for the game.