PORTLAND (ABC4 Sports) – What a start to the NBA season for the Utah Jazz.
Rudy Gobert had 20 points and 17 rebounds in a dominant season-opening performance, leading the Utah Jazz to a 120-100 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
Gobert, who just signed a 5-year, $205-million extension on Sunday, controlled the inside and got plenty of support from the outside as Utah shot 19 of 50 from the 3-point line. The 50 three-point attempts were a Jazz franchise record.
“It’s fun when we play the way we played tonight,” Gobert said.
“We see what we can do on the offensive end, but what is the offense if we’re giving up so many points on the other end?” Donovan Mitchell. “The biggest thing is just containing the ball. It’s about making it tough, and being able to stay solid, and then also trusting you have each other’s backs.”
Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic all made four 3-pointers and Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson knocked down three apiece. Mitchell also scored 20 points, while Conley added 18.
Seven Jazz players scored in double figures, including Bogdanovic (15), Clarkson (15), Joe Ingles (14) and Derrick Favors (10).
Bogdanovic was playing his first regular season game since March, after electing to have wrist surgery this past May.
Former Weber State star and Blazers all-star Damian Lillard, averaged 40 points per game against Utah last season, was scoreless in the first half and finished with only nine points and seven assists for Portland.
“They came out from the jump and they were blitzing and trapping. I wasn’t really expecting that,” Lillard said. “But I just didn’t play a good offensive game.”
“Well, he’s terrific and he’s entitled to a tough night,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “He’s had so many big nights against us, and sometimes the law of averages catches up to you. He’s as good as there is in the league. I thought we executed pretty well, and then you need to have a little luck on your side.”
Utah started quickly from outside and pushed its lead to 52-33 with 6:29 left in the first half. The Jazz led by as much as 23 before taking a 64-44 lead at halftime.
Lillard was held scoreless in a half for the first time in six seasons. Lillard broke the drought with a layup early in the third quarter. Perhaps no play summed up the night for Portland better than a 3-on-1 break that left Lillard wide open with 31 seconds left, before Lillard took a hesitation dribble and missed the 3-pointer with nobody around him.
The frustration extended to his backcourt mate CJ McCollum, who picked up a late technical foul arguing a call in the fourth quarter. McCollum led the Blazers with 23 points.
Utah’s held the Blazers to barely 40% shooting and had a 59-40 rebounding advantage. It wasn’t just Gobert, but the Jazz had four other players who grabbed at least six rebounds, including Clarkson with seven boards off the bench.
The Jazz out-rebounded the Blazers, 59-40, and made 13 of its 19 three-pointers in the first half.
“We just kept playing the right way, kept moving the ball,”: Gobert said. “And when we do that, it’s pretty tough to guard. We play in a very unselfish way. We make the right reads, and also we score off our defense, and it’s unguardable when we’re able to do that.”
The Jazz next host Minnesota Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.