Jazz Dominate Blazers; Henderson Scores First Double-Double

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Scoot Henderson recorded the first double-double of his career today, but could not will the Portland Trail Blazers to a win as the undermanned Utah Jazz prevailed 122-114 at the Moda Center on Thursday Night.

Stars of the Game

In a game much further apart than the score would indicate, the Jazz were led by a combined 74 points from Simone Fontecchio, Collin Sexton and Talen Horton-Tucker as second-year center Walker Kessler notched his 24th double-double while patrolling the paint.

The Blazers were led by rookie point guard Henderson and forward Toumani Camara. Henderson scored 23 points and dished out 10 assists as Camara added 18 points and grabbed six rebounds on 7/11 shooting. Center Deandre Ayton added in 14 points and pulled in nine rebounds after dealing with right knee soreness for four games.

Game Recap

Both teams jostled for a lead early in the game before the Jazz jumped out to a nine point lead on a Fontecchio step-back three point make. Fontecchio would go 7-8 for the contest, and stay perfect from behind the arc and at the charity stripe.

The Blazers pulled within four on a pair of their own three point field goals from Camara and Malcolm Brogdon. The veteran guard returned on Thursday after suffering a right knee strain. His three-pointers would continue to keep the Blazers within reach of the Jazz during the second quarter, trailing 39 to 42 before Utah coach Will Hardy called timeout.

The Jazz responded by storming out of the timeout on a 20-9 run that pummeled the Blazers inside the paint. A transition floater from Colin Sexton to make it 62-48.would force Blazers chief Chauncey Billups to call a timeout of their own. The Jazz would finish the half up 69-54 on 58.7% shooting while the Blazers hung on by making 40.2% of their three pointers.

The lead would only balloon in the third quarter, as Jazz reserves Ochai Agbaji and Kris Dunn scored a three-point make and a dunk for 92-60 lead. The Jazz’s balanced attack was complimented by a box-and-one zone that denied starters Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe and kept them struggling for a combined 13 points on 4/20 shooting.

With two minutes left, Kessler would finish the game with seven blocks, acquiring five in the quarter and helping the Jazz to a 34-22 point advantage in the quarter. Horton-Tucker would add four steals and the Jazz starters finished a combined +122 to put the game truly out of reach.

Surprise Contributions

The Blazer reserves would make a late run in the final quarter behind a three-point explosion from two-way center Duop Reath and spirited point-guard play from Henderson. Reath would score all 15 of his points in the quarter as Scoot added in seven points and six assists.

Second-year forward Jabari Walker would also register just one board short of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. The Blazers’ bench would register a combined +68, but it was too little, too late as the Jazz coasted to the eight point win to clinch the season series 3-1.

Despite recording 30 assists for the game, the Blazers shot 41.7% to the Jazz’s 27 assists on a 53.3% field goal rate. The Jazz made 33.3% of their attempts from beyond the three-point line to keep pace with Portland’s 35.6% three-point rate, but absolutely pummeled the Blazers in the paint, 72-50.

The Jazz were missing guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Lauri Markannen for the night while the Blazers continued on without forward Jerami Grant (concussion protocol). Utah rise to a 9-16 record on the season where the Blazers fall to 6-17.

Where to Next?

After the series win, the Jazz will journey to Sacramento to play the Kings on Saturday before returning home for a brief contest against the Brooklyn Nets and then setting off for a five-game road trip. The Blazers will continue their homestand against the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors for a weekend back-to-back before facing off against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

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