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Blazers tune out Jazz

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - LaMarcus Aldridge had a game-high 24 points Monday night as the Trail Blazers improved to 18-4.Portland Trail Blazers 105, UTAH JAZZ 94

Monday night, EnergySolutions Arena, 17,555 announced attendance

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Blazers did more than go through the motions, but not a lot more — and they didn't have to in order to beat a Jazz team they downed 130-98 last Friday at Moda Center.

Utah stayed close in a first half that had nine ties and nine lead changes. Portland outscored the Jazz 29-23 in the second quarter for a 51-45 halftime advantage.

But Utah never led in the second half and managed only a faint comeback attempt.

With Portland nursing a five-point lead down the stretch, the Jazz left Nic Batum open for a long 3-pointer near the end of the shot clock, and he swished it to put the game out of reach at 100-92 with 1:03 left.

WHAT IT MEANS

• Portland leads the NBA Western Conference with an 18-4 record. The Blazers are 1 1/2 games ahead of San Antonio and Oklahoma City (both 15-4). Portland trails East leader Indiana (18-3) by a half-game.

TOP PERFORMERS

• LaMarcus Aldridge led everyone with 24 points, making 10 of 18 field-goal attempts.

• Robin Lopez had 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

• The starting backcourt totaled 34 points on 25 shots, although Damian Lillard (18 points) was minus-2 for his 34 minutes. Wesley Matthews (16 points) was plus-10, also in 34 minutes.

• Thomas Robinson had six rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench, adding 2 blocks and 8 points.

• For Utah, reserve Alec Burks scored 20 points, Enes Kanter had 19 and Gordon Hayward had 17. The Jazz played without two starters: Derrick Favors (back) and Marvin Williams (heel).

KEY STATS

• The shooting stats were just good enough for Portland. The Blazers hit 40 of 85 (47.1 percent), while Utah was 36 of 82 (43.9 percent). The Blazers were 11 of 18 (61.1 percent) in the third quarter.

• Portland made 19 of 20 free throws. Matthews missed one of his four attempts.

• Utah (4-19) has lost four games in a row.

• The Blazers won in Salt Lake City for the first time in their last six tries.

• Portland is 9-2 at home and 9-2 on the road.

QUOTE

• "We played sluggish. We didn't have that killer (instinct). Guys were just tired. Every game can't be great." — Aldridge.

NEXT

The Blazers play host to the Houston Rockets (15-7) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (TNT).