It was a big Saturday night matchup for the Portland Trail Blazers as they hosted the Utah Jazz at their Moda Center in Portland. The Jazz is a team with one of the best defenses in the NBA this season led by their star big man Rudy Gabbert in the middle. Blazers, on the other hand, are still fighting for that eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and they are currently shorthanded, playing without their starting center Jusuf Nurkic. Portland also played without Allen Crabbe on Saturday night who was out because of left foot soreness. George Hill missed his sixth straight game for the Jazz due to right groin strain.

Tight game through the first two-quarters

Being shorthanded in this one and with only three games left to play in the regular season, the Trail Blazers came into this matchup with a sense of urgency and in need of a win. They opened up the game with a big first quarter, outscoring the Jazz 34-20 in that period. Utah went cold in the first 12 minutes of the game shooting just 35% from the field. They managed to cut the lead to six points by the end of the second quarter, it was 48-42 for the Blazers at halftime. It turned out that the third quarter was a deciding period of this game as the Blazers held the Jazz to 18 points in this quarter. They took a commanding 17 point lead coming in the fourth quarter (77-60) and ended up winning this one with a 15 point margin 101-86.

Portland's biggest lead of the game was 20 points (84-64). They finished the game with just three turnovers while the Jazz had 11. This was Portland's seventh straight win at home.

Lillard's career night

With Jusuf Nurkic and Allen Crabbe out in this game, it was Damian Lillard who showed up big time and put the team on his back once again.

He had an inspiring performance and finished the game with a career-high 59 points. 26 of his 59 points came in the first quarter as he tied his own franchise record for most points in a single quarter. Lillard now also holds a franchise-record for most points in a game. Previous franchise record was held by Damon Stoudamire who scored 54 points for the Blazers back in 2005.

Lillard finished the game with 59 points, six rebounds, and five assists. He also tied his career high with nine three-pointers made in the game. This was his 75th career game with at least 30 points.

Maurice Harkless added 12 points and three rebounds for the Blazers in this one. Portland remains at the eighth spot in the Western Conference with only two games left to play in the regular season. They will play their final two games at home against San Antonio on Monday and the Pelicans on Wednesday.

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