A week removed from the punishing loss on their homecourt, the Blazers look to get a little revenge against the Utah Jazz. Sounds fair enough. Problem is, the Jazz are the last team anyone wants to face now, especially in Utah (you can't even get real beer there). The Blazers cannot find a way to win inside EnergySolutions Arena, having won just two of their past 17 games in Utah, a stat only made worse when you notice that the Jazz have won 10 of their past 11 games in Salt Lake City. Oh, the Jazz have victories in their past eight games at home as well. Depressed yet?
Well dry those eyes and put down that 3.2% beer. Last week's 106-95 loss was brutal for Portland, especially since the Jazz essentially won that game in the first dozen minutes of play, eventually piling on a 21 point advantage when the buzzer sounded at the end of the opening quarter. But after the first quarter the Blazers fared quite well, actually outscoring the Jazz 79-69 the rest of the night. Portland needs to come quick out of the gates in Utah, and remind the Jazz that last week's loss is still fresh in their mind.
A Boozer-less Jazz team isn't as weak as the Roy-less Blazers, and you can thank near-Portlander Paul Millsap for that. Since Boozer hobbled into the dressing room in the Rose Garden, Millsap has seen increased minutes and has averaged over 28 points and 11 boards in his past two games. If he hits those numbers against Portland, it won't be a good sign. Winning in Utah is not impossible, and considering the odd path this season has taken for the Blazers, stranger things most definitely have happened. The question is, will Wednesday be one of those nights?