Trail Blazers-Jazz Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 29, 2012
Wesley Matthews' arrival in Portland last season helped the Trail Blazers turn around their fortunes against the Utah Jazz. Matthews tormented his former team in 2010-11, and he'll hope to do the same as these Northwest Division rivals meet for the first time this season Monday night in Salt Lake City. As an undrafted rookie two seasons ago, Matthews developed into a starter in helping Utah (11-7) capture a share of the division title and reach the Western Conference semifinals. The Jazz won all four matchups with Portland (12-8) that season, but the Trail Blazers signed Matthews - a restricted free agent - to a five-year deal worth $34 million afterward. Matthews averaged 19.5 points against the Jazz last season for his second-highest career figure against any opponent. His play was a big reason Portland took three of four matchups. He's off to a bit of a slow start this season with a 13.6 scoring average, but he was one of four Portland players to reach double figures Friday with 16 points in a 109-71 home rout of Phoenix. The Trail Blazers posted their second-highest scoring output of the season. "We wanna run, we wanna play uptempo," Matthews said. "When you play like that, the only way to do that is to get stops and that's what we were able to do. So that fueled us offensively." Portland, which won both visits to Utah last season, is eager to improve on its 3-7 road record. "I don't know why we play like we do (Friday) and then we go on the road and the effort doesn't seem to be there at times," said center Marcus Camby, who grabbed 20 rebounds and did not score against the Suns. "That's something we talked about internally, that's something we look forward to correcting." Utah improved to 9-3 at home with Saturday's 96-93 victory over Sacramento. The Jazz won despite 18 turnovers and a paltry 18 combined points from top scorers Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. "We'll take the win," coach Ty Corbin said. "We didn't execute and play our best basketball, we gutted it out and got a good win." With the Kings focusing their attention on Jefferson and Millsap, Gordon Hayward and C.J. Miles combined for 41 points to lift the Jazz. "(Saturday) was one of those nights they did a good job of doubling down on those guys and, like I said, we had some tired legs," Miles said. "I think me and G-Time (Hayward) are more than capable of being able to make plays. We just try to stick within the offense and some nights, nights like this, the offense works in my favor." Only one matchup between these teams last season came after Utah dealt Deron Williams to New Jersey for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and draft picks Feb. 23. Harris' 26 points weren't enough in a 98-87 home loss to Portland on April 7, and he's now struggling through a subpar season, averaging 9.2 points and 4.6 assists. Jefferson averaged 13.5 points and 11.8 boards in the 2010-11 season series while Portland star LaMarcus Aldridge averaged 22.3 points and 8.0 rebounds. Portland had been 0-5 at Utah with Aldridge as a starter before its two wins last season. "In the altitude it's going to be a big test for us, but, you know, we've gotta be ready to go," Aldridge said.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Glenn Robinson III dunks over three people to win Slam Dunk Contest

Kevin Durant booed at All-Star introductions in New Orleans

Charles Oakley joins Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league

Report: Kirk Cousins does not want to be with Redskins

Hall of Famer Goose Gossage says it’s ‘insulting’ to be compared to Mariano Rivera

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

12-year MLB veteran Nick Swisher announces retirement

Report: Chiefs, Broncos among teams that interest Tony Romo

Report: Pistons, Magic have discussed Reggie Jackson trade

Andrew McCutchen Googled himself to keep up on trade talk

RB Trent Richardson arrested on domestic violence charge

Anthony Davis to be ‘very involved’ in efforts to re-sign Jrue Holiday

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Best of Yardbarker: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

Box Score 2/17: Happy birthday, Michael Jordan (and welcome to 1000 point club, Sid!)

The 'Michael Jordan might still win the Dunk contest if he entered' quiz

How to reboot NBA All-Star Weekend

Second-year NBA stars who can salvage the season

Observations from a day at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Box Score 2/16: Getting ready for the ASG

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of YB: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Who will break these NBA All-Star Game records?

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

How to reboot NBA All-Star Weekend

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Second-year NBA stars who can salvage the season

Observations from a day at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker