SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 30 points and CJ McCollum added 26 to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 105-98 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
Carmelo Anthony added 18 points for Portland. Jusuf Nurkic chipped in 11 points and 15 rebounds. The Trail Blazers won their fifth straight game and earned their ninth victory in their last 10. Portland moved into a tie with Dallas for the fifth position in the Western Conference.
Jordan Clarkson scored 29 points to lead Utah. Rudy Gobert added 15 points and 20 rebounds for the Jazz, who lost their second straight game. Utah now holds a 1 1/2 game lead over Phoenix for the best record in the NBA.
Cold shooting from Utah in the second half opened the door for Portland to take control. The Jazz missed 11 of 12 shots over an eight-minute stretch to start the third quarter. The Trail Blazers capitalized, building an 84-71 lead late in the quarter following back-to-back baskets from Anthony and Lillard.
The Jazz drew within 90-81 on a second-chance dunk from Gobert. But that was their only basket through the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter. Utah missed eight of nine shots overall in that stretch.
Portland pushed the lead back to double digits amid the drought and extended its advantage to 97-81 on a layup from Lillard with 4:19 left.
Utah charged out of the gates in the first quarter. The Jazz made their first seven shots and scored on six straight possessions to carve out a 16-4 lead. Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert each scored back-to-back baskets to fuel the hot start.
Portland weathered the surge and chipped away at Utah’s lead until overtaking the Jazz in the second quarter. The Trail Blazers hit nine of their first 12 shots to open the quarter and scored on four straight possessions, culminating in a 3-pointer from Norman Powell, to take a 49-46 lead.
McCollum played the largest part in sparking Portland’s offense during the second quarter. He made six baskets – capped by a halftime buzzer-beating jumper – and totaled 13 points in the quarter.
Trail Blazers: Enes Kanter made a 3-pointer in the first quarter – his first outside basket of the season. Blazers were 0-of-5 from 3-point range before Kanter broke the ice. … Anthony returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sprained right ankle. … Portland committed zero turnovers in the third quarter and finished with just five turnovers overall.
Jazz: Gobert finished with at least 20 rebounds for the sixth time this season. … Udoka Azubuike played in an NBA game for the first time since late January after missing 41 games with a severe right ankle sprain. … Utah outscored Portland 11-0 in second-chance points in the second half.
Trail Blazers visit Phoenix on Thursday.
Jazz visit Oklahoma City on Friday.