Damian Lillard scored 36 points and dished out 10 assists as the Portland Trail Blazers tripped up the Utah Jazz 102-93 in the regular-season finale for both teams Wednesday night at Moda Center.
The victory allowed Portland (49-33) to edge Utah (48-34) for the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Blazers will open the postseason against the sixth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans, while the Jazz fell to the fifth seed, and they will oppose the fourth-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder.
CJ McCollum added 19 points for the Trail Blazers. Jusuf Nurkic chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds for Portland, which snapped a four-game losing streak.
Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio each scored 17 points for the Jazz. Rudy Gobert collected 13 points and 13 rebounds for Utah, which had won six games in a row.
Lillard scored 17 points and McCollum 14 to stake Portland to a 55-41 halftime lead. The Jazz shot only 34.8 percent from the field in the first half, though they improved to 37.1 percent by game’s end. Mitchell — who started the game by missing his first eight shots — scored nine points on 3-for-13 shooting in the half.
Portland’s lead was 70-52 midway through the third quarter. The Blazers carried an 80-59 edge into the fourth quarter.
The Blazers upped the margin to 85-61 early in the final period. Utah scored 13 in a row to get it to within 85-74 with 7:37 remaining. Lillard sank a jumper to push Portland’s lead to 87-74, but Jonas Jerebko’s tip-in cut it to 87-76.
Lillard scored on back-to-back step-back jumpers to make to make it 91-76 with 5:40 to go. Utah cut the deficit to 99-90 on a pair of free throws by Jae Crowder with 1:21 to play, but the Jazz would get no closer.
Portland jumped to a 17-9 lead midway through the first quarter. The Blazers hiked the advantage to 28-19 before settling for a 28-21 lead after one quarter.
The Blazers increased the difference to 41-27 midway through the second quarter. Utah scored six in a row to get within 41-33. Portland came back with an 8-2 run to go ahead 49-35. The Blazers’ edge was 14 points at the break.
—Field Level Media