Utah Jazz play right into hands of tanking Trail Blazers

Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

No-name Portland Trail Blazers were no match for the Utah Jazz.

The Portland Trail Blazers (25-40) appear to be tanking, whether by choice or pure misfortune. Yes, at this point, following their 123-85 loss on Wednesday night at the Utah Jazz (41-24), that much is crystal clear, no matter who may try to deny it.

So in this respect, the Jazz played right into the Blazers’ hands by handing them their sixth straight defeat. All six of these Portland L’s have been by double-digit margins; five of them have been by 30 points or more.

As Basketball-Reference creator Justin Kubatko noted via tweet before the no-contest in Salt Lake City, the Blazers’ previous five losses were by a combined 156 points, marking “the worst point differential in NBA history over a five-game span.” Kubatko added, “They are the first team in NBA history to record four 30-point losses in a five-game span.”

Working the logic, this means Utah made Portland the first team in NBA history to record five 30-point losses in a six-game span.

Extra rest for the Utah Jazz main cast

Due to their early knockout punch — a 63-35 lead at half that turned into a 96-49 beatdown by the end of the third quarter — Donovan Mitchell and the rest of the Utah Jazz starters had the luxury of resting their legs across the entire fourth quarter. Most of Mitchell & Co. exited with four minutes and some change left in the third when the Jazz had doubled up the Blazers, 86-43.

Utah sniper Bojan Bogdanovic led the way with a game-high 27 points in only 24 minutes of action, keeping the flame on his recent hot hand while shooting 6-for-9 beyond the arc. Mitchell and Royce O’Neale played 24 minutes apiece, finishing with 16 and 11 points, respectively.

By the time Bogdanovic, Mitchell, and O’Neale permanently headed to the bench, those three Jazzmen alone had outscored the Blazers, 54-43.

Next up for the Jazz (No. 4 in the Western Conference standings) is a road matchup against the San Antonio Spurs (25-41) at 6:30 p.m. MT Friday.

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