National Basketball Association
Preview
Portland at Utah
When: 9:00 PM ET, Friday, February 23, 2018
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

The Utah Jazz were the hottest team in the NBA entering the All-Star break and hope to remain on a roll when they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. The Jazz turned around a disappointing first half with 11 straight wins entering the break, including a 115-96 triumph in Portland on Feb. 11.

The surge pushed Utah to within 1 1/2 games of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and just 4 1/2 games out of third place, although the players are not looking too far up in the standings. "If we ever start to feel good about ourselves, all we have to do is take a look at the standings," center Rudy Gobert told the Salt Lake Tribune. "We're still in 10th place." The Trail Blazers are in the middle of the tangle of teams ahead of the Jazz, resting in a tie with sixth-place Denver after entering the break with three wins in four games. They rode Damian Lillard's 44 points to a 123-117 win over Golden State in their final game prior to the intermission.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBCS Northwest (Portland), AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (Utah)

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (32-26): Lillard has been on a tear of late and averaged 44.3 points in his final three games entering the break before pouring in 21 in 21 minutes in the All-Star Game. "We've got to go out there with that mindset that we've got to dominate the [rest] of the season," Lillard told reporters at practice Thursday. Lillard often needs fellow star guard CJ McCollum to play well for Portland to be at its best, but McCollum was just 8-for-22 from the floor in the loss to Utah earlier this month.

ABOUT THE JAZZ (30-28): All-Star weekend allowed rookie Donovan Mitchell to show off a bit more, as the dynamic 21-year-old recorded five steals and seven assists in the Rising Stars Challenge before winning the Slam Dunk Contest. "It was a lot of fun, and it was a little tiring," Mitchell told reporters. "It was a long weekend, and it was my first time doing All-Star weekend, so I wanted to do everything possible. But the thing I have to remember is that was last Saturday, and last Saturday was last Saturday. Now, it's back to the season." Mitchell scored at least 24 points in his last four games prior to the break, including 27 in the rout of the Blazers.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Gobert has four straight double-doubles and at least 10 rebounds in seven consecutive games.

2. Lillard made all 41 of his free throws over the last five games.

3. Portland signed G Brandon Rush to a 10-day contract Wednesday.

PREDICTION: Jazz 110, Trail Blazers 104
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Portland 32-26 W1 17-11 15-15 1-1 31-25 4-6 18-15
Utah 30-28 W11 18-9 12-19 0-1 30-27 5-7 19-14
Last Meeting
Portland Utah
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
2/11/18 UTA 115 POR 96 96 37 40.7 115 58 46.6
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Portland D. Lillard 39 48.0 13
Utah D. Mitchell 27 41.7 5
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Portland E. Davis 12 2 10
Utah D. Favors 11 4 7
Assists Player  
Portland C. McCollum 4
Utah R. O'Neale 6
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Portland D. Lillard 1332 44.7 315
Utah D. Mitchell 1076 43.9 148
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Portland J. Nurkic 453 118 335
Utah D. Favors 405 141 264
Assists Player  
Portland D. Lillard 335
Utah R. Rubio 282
Quickchart Matchup
Portland Portland Off vs  Utah Utah Defense
Portland Off vs Utah - Points For 105.0 Points For
Portland Off vs Utah - Points Against 101.7 Points Against
Portland - FG% 45.4 FG%
Utah - FG% 46.0 FG%
Portland - Reb 44.9 Reb
Utah - Reb 42.2 Reb
Utah Utah Off vs  Portland Portland Defense
Utah Off vs Portland - Points For 103.5 Points For
Utah Off vs Portland - Points Against 103.9 Points Against
Utah - FG% 45.8 FG%
Portland - FG% 44.8 FG%
Utah - Reb 42.1 Reb
Portland - Reb 42.9 Reb