Wesley Matthews left in a boot and crutches. Nicolas Batum pointed out the painful areas in his ailing right wrist. Ronnie Price was limping.
The Trail Blazers continue to show plenty of fight even on the nights when their play gets ragged. The spirit still seems willing. But are the bodies able?
That could become the big question after the Blazers' 86-77 defeat to the Utah Jazz in EnergySolutions Arena on Friday. Portland (23-23) dug itself a hole, scrambled back, but just couldn't finish what would have been a key victory against one of the teams they are trying to pass in the Western Conference playoff chase.
"Every game is a must-have for us right now," Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge said.
The Blazers get another shot at the Jazz tonight at the Rose Garden, where they complete an unusual away-and-home back-to-back. But they would have loved to return with a victory over Utah already in hand.
After falling behind by as many as 17 points, the Blazers made their usual comeback as Damian Lillard – on the day he was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for the third month in a row- -- scored 20 of his 26 points after halftime.
The Blazers got the deficit down to five when Lillard made a three-pointer with 3:05 left, but the Blazers' starters could not muster another basket as Aldridge missed a shot, and Lillard and J.J. Hickson committed turnovers on subsequent possessions.
"It's one of those times where we put ourselves in a hole and we fought so hard to get back that I think we ran of gas when it was time to turn it up again," said Lillard, who played a nearby Weber State and got a warm reception when introduced.
Suddenly-ailing Trail Blazers limp out of Utah with a 86-77 loss to Jazz
Oregonian | Feb 2