PORTLAND, Ore. — Ricky Rubio had 24 points and eight assists to lead the Utah Jazz to a 120-90 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
Kyle Korver scored 18 points and Jae Crowder added 16 as the two combined to shoot 7 for 14 on 3-pointers for Utah.
Damian Lillard had 19 points to lead the Trail Blazers, who suffered their worst home loss since 2004.
The Jazz took control of the game in the first quarter thanks to reserves Korver and Crowder. The two helped the Jazz take a 2-point lead early in the second and the advantage
The Jazz took a 12-point early in the second quarter, led by 14 after three before pulling away in the fourth.
Crowder and Korver seemingly alternated 3-point baskets while back-up point guard Dante Exum racked up assist after assist setting them up. Exum finished with seven assists and six points.
Things only got better for the Jazz from there as their strong 3-point shooting did not stop. Utah finished 16 for 31 (51 percent) on 3s. Everybody from the bench players, to unheralded shooters like Ricky Rubio, got open 3s to go.
While things were going well for the Jazz, the Blazers were struggling. They shot 41 percent from the field and 31 percent from long-distance. Their turnovers were also costly as the Jazz scored 21 points off Portland turnovers.
One sequence in particular seemed to encapsulate the night for Portland as Lillard missed a dunk and then upon getting the rebound, threw the ball to teammate Jusuf Nurkic, who was standing near the bench but not in the game.
Jazz: Donovan Mitchell hasn’t had a very efficient shooting season, and he’s shot even worse as of late. For the past seven games, he’s been shooting 35 percent from the field, including 29 percent on 3s.
Don’t expect him to stop shooting. As coach Quin Snyder said before the game, he’s being selfish if he doesn’t shoot.
“He’s got to play, he’s got to attack,” Snyder said. “He’s our guy. You start questioning that, he’s fine. We won a game and he didn’t shoot great. He’s not going to shoot great at times but there’s been plenty of games when he’s had a rough night. He’s capable of doing that for him, that’s what we want. If he doesn’t shoot, that’s Donovan being selfish.”
Mitchell was 1 for 10 from the field against the Blazers.
Trail Blazers: After a brief swoon, the Trail Blazers entered the game having won three straight. A big key to the success was the play of the reserves. That is something Stotts believes is an indicator.
“That group has done a good job of Evan (Turner), Seth (Curry), Nik (Stauskas), Zach (Collins), Meyers (Leonard), have all done a good job of keeping things going,” he said. “We had a rough stretch and our record kind of reflected that but two out of the last three games.”
The above group has performed very well this season as they’ve outscored their opponents by 15.7 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com.
Jazz: Host Oklahoma City on Saturday.
Trail Blazers: Host Dallas on Sunday.