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The energy and effort wasn't there for Portland, which fell to the NBA's biggest early surprise in the Jazz.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard awaits the start of the game against Brooklyn on Nov. 17, 2022, at the Moda Center.

Once again, a later Portland Trail Blazers comeback couldn't quite reach the finish line as the Utah Jazz snuck out with a 118-113 win Saturday, Nov. 19, in the Moda Center.

Damian Lillard exited early in the second half with right calf tightness and didn't return, forcing the Blazers to look elsewhere down the stretch.

Lillard said after the game he doesn't believe the injury is as bad as the one he suffered earlier in the season where he missed a few games, but he said he likely might miss time on the upcoming trip that starts at 5 p.m. Monday in Milwaukee. Lillard had an MRI done but didn't have the results postgame.

Portland didn't get off to a slow start, jumping out in front 21-9 at one point, but the rest of the first half was a bit of a snooze fest.

Lillard was 0 for 8 from deep while both teams struggled overall shooting from the arc. Plus some sloppy offense from the Blazers led to seven turnovers, most coming on missed passes.

The Jazz bench made the biggest run, outscoring the Blazers 32-7 in the first half with rookie Shaedon Sharpe grabbing four of those, but looking a little out of place in the offense as the minutes wore on.

The third quarter looked like it was about to become a disaster with Utah going up by as much as 19 at one point.

Enter Drew Eubanks.

The Troutdale local provided a spark with a stretch that included three consecutive baskets plus a blocked shot to help Portland close the quarter within eight.

The Blazers eventually took the lead 106-105 on a Eubanks dunk out of a timeout, but Jordan Clarkson went to work for Utah, scoring eight consecutive points and closing out the game for Utah.

Anfernee Simons finished as the leading scorer with 23 points while Eubanks chipped in 13 and five rebounds.

Standout stats

Bench points: Utah's bench came alive on the back-to-back for the Jazz, scoring 32 first half points while holding the Blazers ton only seven. Beasley was 15 of those points as he had a stretch with four consecutive 3-pointers made. The second half was more even with Utah slighting holding the advantage and finishing the game with a 55-26 lean, Beasley finishing with 29 points to lead Utah.

Lillard hurting: The superstar guard went 1 for 12 from deep and 2 for 14 from the field and scored 13 points before exiting. It continues a tough scoring stretch during the Blazers' 3-game home stand.

More turnovers: The biggest knock against the Blazers early start was their turnovers, and it seems it could be catching up to them. Costly mistakes at the end of quarters led to some easy Jazz buckets. Portland still had more fastbreak points (16-11) and turned the Jazz over 13 times, but the timing for Portland wasn't there.

Game grade: D

The energy and effort came too late when Josh Hart forced a steal and put home a transition bucket to finally give the team some extended life. Against a Jazz team that has the world doubting them, that effort needs to be there from the beginning and the Blazers spoke to that post game as well in needing to be that way from the jump. Now they'll be on the road for four games where the previous trip was a successful 4-2 adventure.


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