Markkanen Leads Utah into Rip City
There’s almost no way an NBA betting expert predicted that on Nov. 19 the Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers would be tied atop the Western Conference. Both teams were expected to be sub-.500 and out of the playoffs, yet here they are setting the pace.
It all makes for a wonderful matchup Saturday night in Portland and a great time to put down a bet online at the sportsbook.
Jazz Snap Slide in Thriller vs Suns
There were probably a few people out there who said, “Oh, that’s the real Utah Jazz,” when the team lost three straight to Washington, Philadelphia, and New York, taking some of the luster off their early-season surge.
Well, the Jazz had quite a rebuttal Friday night against the Phoenix Suns, outlasting Devin Booker and company in a 134-133 nail-biter. Lauri Markkanen punctuated a career-high 38-point effort with a turnaround to beat the shot clock in the final minute and Utah survived a last-gasp try by the Suns, who got 49 points from Booker.
“With all the emotions from our losing streak, we just wanted to try to figure out a way to win and you just do whatever it takes in a game like this,” point guard Mike Conley told reporters.
The Jazz have topped the 130-point mark in three of their last eight games. They shot a season-high 56.0% from the floor vs Phoenix, as well as a season-high 51.6% from beyond the arc.
The NBA’s third-ranked offense (117.6 points per game) will be tested against a Blazers unit that ranks fifth in scoring defense (107.7).
Blazers Looking for a Rebound Performance
Portland has had a day to think about what went wrong in a somewhat surprising 109-107 loss to Brooklyn at home on Thursday. The Nets were coming off a drubbing in Sacramento in which they gave up 153 points, but they were able to limit the Blazers in the second half to steal a victory.
Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons combined for 49 points in the loss for Portland. The third member of the team’s high-scoring trio – Jerami Grant – was limited to a season-low five on 2-for-13 shooting. Grant averaged 26.1 points over his previous seven games, so it stands to reason that he’ll have a bounce-back effort against the Jazz.
Whether the Blazers can summon the energy they seemed to lack Thursday night remains a question.
“I thought tonight we just didn’t do enough,” Lillard said Thursday. “They played harder than us in situations and they made the plays that we didn’t.”
Portland’s bench could be a bit short-handed, as forward Nassir Little is questionable due to a calf issue. Fellow reserve Shaedon Sharpe had a career-high 20 points against the Nets.
Jazz vs Trail Blazers Head-to-Head
This will be the 200th all time regular-season matchup between the teams. Utah has a 110-89 advantage after winning all four meetings last season.
Jazz vs Trail Blazers Game Injuries
Jazz vs Trail Blazers Game Information
- Game: Jazz (11-6) vs Trail Blazers (10-5)
- Location: Moda Center, Portland, OR
- Day/Time: Saturday, Nov. 19th, 10:00 p.m. ET
- Jazz vs Trail Blazers Live Stream: NBA Game Pass
Jazz vs Trail Blazers Betting Lines
Jazz vs Trail Blazers Picks & Prediction
Markkanen was forced to play 35 minutes and three other Utah players were in for at least 30 minutes on the front end of a back-to-back, which could impact the team’s play Saturday night. Utah is 0-2 this season when the second half of a back-to-back is on the road after going 2-6 in such situations in 2021-22.
The Blazers have been mostly treading water since their 4-0 start but they should put in an inspired effort in this one. They have to be a bit miffed with the performance vs Brooklyn, and there’s a challenging four-game road trip on the horizon. Portland will put its best foot forward and outlast what could be a tired Utah crew.