|Date of game: 2/3/2015
Recap: Portland vs. Utah
Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds and hit the clinching free throws to give the Portland Trail Blazers a 103-102 victory over the pesky Utah Jazz.
Damian Lillard scored 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting and Wesley Matthews added 21 for the Blazers, who had dropped three straight and eight of 10 coming in.
Robin Lopez contributed 11 points in his return from missing 23 games with a broken hand. He suffered a facial laceration in the third quarter of this nip- and-tuck battle but returned in the fourth quarter.
"Everyone's back to what they're accustomed to, where they've been playing for so long," Matthews said regarding the effects of Lopez's return. "He just gives us something we don't have."
Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors led the Jazz with 27 and 20 points, respectively.
Utah was coming off a surprising win over the NBA-best Warriors over the weekend and stayed competitive against the Northwest Division leaders most of the night.
Lillard threw down a tomahawk dunk over the 7-foot-2 Rudy Gobert early in the fourth quarter, but it stayed tight even though the Blazers rattled off eight straight points later in the frame.
Matthews bookended the flurry with 3-pointers for a 98-89 cushion, and after a late Hayward 3 pulled the Jazz back within three, Lillard drove right and put in a layup for a 101-96 lead.
Joe Ingles' 3-pointer with 9.7 seconds remaining preceded Aldridge's key free throws, which made Trey Burke's late 3 moot.
"We competed...and fought the entire game," Hayward said. "Little bit more and there and we would have come out with a win."
Aldridge's 14 first-quarter points staked the Blazers to a 27-23 lead, but Utah's 12-2 run to end the half sent the Jazz into the break ahead by a slim 47-44 margin.
Portland opened the second half on a 15-3 run, and again Utah had an answer, as Favors and Hayward combined for 11 straight points to keep the hosts from pulling away.Game Notes
Gobert pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds ... Burke and Enes Kanter netted 18
and 16 points, respectively, in the loss ... Nicolas Batum finished with 10
points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Blazers.