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The Jazz won going away in Portland. Here's why Snyder was a bit disappointed



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Some of the more dominant stats of Utah's 120-105 win at Portland on Wednesday include:

  • The Jazz jumped out to a 14-2 lead and led wire to wire
  • They had six players score 15 or more points
  • Utah's bench outscored Portland's 59-22
  • The Jazz had a 70-34 advantage on points in the paint

So of course there were smiles all around after the game, right?

"I was disappointed throughout the first three quarters," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.

OK, then. Maybe not.

"I thought we'd build the lead and then we let up a little bit. We didn't extend it," Snyder continued.

That disappointment is understandable. It's been an ongoing problem this season for the Jazz (25-9) — even in wins.

Snyder admitted there's been games he felt shouldn't have been close that Utah ended up losing. And if you let a team hang around or get back in the game, who knows what can happen at the end.

With a player like Damian Lillard, who scored 32 points on Wednesday, on the other side, you don't really want to give much hope at the end.

"I think there's a few times when we are up 10, and when you are up 10, it can go either way," Rudy Gobert said. "You can either get up 15-20, or you can let them come back and cut the lead to 5 and then it's a ball game."

The Blazers continued to cut the lead through three quarters. But in the fourth? That was a different story.

Donovan Mitchell, sitting back at home as he healed a strained lower back, may have said it best.

"BIG TIME!!" Mitchell tweeted in response to a slick spin move from Gobert. Mitchell's commentary was about one play, but it may have well been about Gobert's entire fourth quarter performance.

The Jazz All-Star center dominated the final frame, scoring 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and helped push the Jazz lead to as many as 22 points. Gobert finished 8 of 10 from the field and had 14 rebounds.

The fourth quarter put the game away, but even with the lead fluctuating a bit throughout the game, things never truly felt in doubt. Some of that was by virtue of circumstance than anything else. Portland had seven players in COVID-19 health and safety protocols, leaving the team undermanned and undersized.

Gobert combined with Hassan Whiteside to punish the smaller Blazers in the paint with Whiteside finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds in his return to the place he had one of his best years of his career.

Whiteside was part of bench group that simply overwhelmed the Blazers. Rudy Gay had a season-high 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added six rebounds. Jordan Clarkson added 19 points, which included a breakaway dunk to end the first half. Even Trent Forrest — a known non-scorer — had 4 points and two assists.

While the Jazz failed to push their early lead to 20-plus points until the closing quarter, they never let the Blazers truly back into the game.

The closest Portland got to the Jazz after the first quarter was 6, and the Blazers never got within 10 in the fourth quarter. It was a true wire-to-wire victory. The circumstances and talent advantage the Jazz had — even without Mitchell — the team felt things should have been put to bed a little earlier. It was a good victory, but one that came with a reminder, too.

"I thought there were a few stretches when we let them get too many offensive rebounds; a few stretches when we could have fouled to stop the break and we didn't," Gobert said. "It's on us to keep being aware of those moments. if we lock in more, we can get 20. And then it's much more likely that we're gonna win."

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