Jazz fall to Blazers, slip to fifth in West
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz will enter the playoffs as the No. 5 seed in the West following a a 102-93 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
The Jazz had a shot at a division title and home-court advantage in the first round, but the road loss to the Blazers sets up a showdown with No. 4 seed Oklahoma City. Both teams finished the season 48-34, but the Thunder owned the tiebreaker and gets to host the first two games of the series.
The Jazz had a rough shooting night, only connecting on 36 percent of their shots and just 32 percent from 3-point range. Leading scorer Donovan Mitchell struggled with his shot as well, scoring 14 points on 23 shots.
Despite the loss, the Jazz say they will regroup.
“The season is not over,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “Hopefully we’ll bounce back, as I said, there is another season.”
Former Weber State star Damian Lillard went off on the Jazz, scoring 36 points on 25 shots, while also dishing out 10 assists. Portland (49-33) wrapped up the No. 3 seed with the win and will host New Orleans in the first round.
The Jazz finished the season strong, despite Wednesday’s setback. In January, the Jazz were 19-28 after a loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Since then, Utah has gone 29-6 and earned a playoff spot in the wild Western Conference.
It came down to the last game of the season for the conference standings to work itself out, with numerous tiebreaker possibilities. Two teams, Minnesota and Denver, were playing for their NBA playoff lives, with the Timberwolves earning the final spot and a first-round date with the top-seeded Houston Rockets.
The San Antonio Spurs lost to the New Orleans Pelicans and dropped to the No. 7 seed. The Spurs will play the Golden State Warriors.
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