Jazz vs Blazers Preview (Game 4 of 4)

February 21st, 2010 | by Spencer Hall
PORTLAND, OR - FEBRUARY 19: Marcus Camby #21 walks onto the court follwed by LaMarcus Aldridge #12 and Martell Webster #23 of the Portland Trail Blazers during a game against the Boston Celtics on February 19, 2010 at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon.

Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

Game Time: 8:30pm Mountain / Sunday, February 21, 2010
TV: ESPN
ESPN Preview

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UTAH JAZZ at PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.

D-Will continues to dominate

Deron Williams has been an assist machine during this winning streak:

  • D-Will has handed out at least ten assists in each of his last five games, the longest current streak in the league. Only Steve Nash (eight games) and Chris Paul (seven games, twice) have had longer streaks of consecutive double-digit assist games this season than Williams.
  • D-Will leads the NBA with an average of 11.8 assists per game during February. Williams has averaged that many assists per game in only one previous calendar month (13.3 AST/G in March 2008).
  • D-Will has assisted on 144 of Carlos Boozer’s field goals this season. The only NBA players with as many assists on baskets made by a particular teammate than Williams are Steve Nash (186 for Amar’e Stoudemire) and Jason Kidd (153 for Dirk Nowitzki).

Utah has been credited with assists on an NBA-high 68 percent of its field goals this season (compared to a league average of 56 percent). For those of you thinking there’s some home cooking at the scorers table in Salt Lake City, the Jazz’s percentage of assists hasn’t been padded by generous home-town scoring. Utah has a slightly higher percentage of assisted field goal in road games this season (70%) than it has in home games at EnergySolutions Arena (67%).

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Welcome Back AK

Most of the fun of watching the Jazz lately has been the return of the 5×5 version of Andrei Kirilenko. He’s back to putting up odd numbers all over the stat sheet and gets better as the game progresses.

AK has been credited with at least one steal in each of his last 20 games, the longest current streak of its kind in the NBA and one game shy of the league-high for this season (21 consecutive games for Rajon Rondo, Oct. 27-Dec. 8). Kirilenko’s streak is the longest of its kind for a Jazz player since Ronnie Brewer had steals in 23 straight games last season.

AK is the only NBA qualifier who is averaging at least ten points per game this season whose scoring average increases in each successive quarter of games. Kirilenko is averaging 2.9 PPG in the first quarter, 3.0 in the second, 3.1 in the third and 3.4 in the fourth period.

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Finishing Strong

Utah has won the last 29 games in which is led at the end of the third period. That’s the longest current winning streak of its kind for any NBA team and the third-longest in franchise history.

With a victory tonight, Utah would sweep its four-game season series against Portland. The Jazz have swept a season series against the Trail Blazers only twice: 1988-89 and 2005-06 (four games each). Utah went 5-7 against Portland over the past three seasons.

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Blazers look to bounce back

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 27 points, 12 rebounds and five assists the last time these two clubs met (a 118-105 loss at Utah on Feb. 3). It was one of only three games in Aldridge’s career (and the only one this season) that he posted a team-high in all three categories.

The Trail Blazers’ 96-76 loss to the Celtics on Friday night was their largest margin of defeat in more than a year (since a 100-79 defeat in Philadelphia on Jan. 14, 2009). It was Portland’s most lopsided loss in a home game since it dropped a 120-98 decision to the Warriors in its 2006-07 regular-season finale.

The Blazers registered only seven assists on Friday, one more than the league-low for any team this season (six by the Hornets against Portland on Nov. 1). Brandon Roy has had only two assists in 49 minutes over Portland’s last two games, marking only the second time in Roy’s career that he was held to so few assists over any two-game stretch. The other such occurrence was in the fourth and fifth games of Roy’s rookie season, when handed out two assists in only 21 minutes played over the course of consecutive games (Nov. 6-10, 2006).

Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
Spencer Hall
Spencer Hall

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One Comment

  1. Clint Peterson says:

    Break out the…leafblower maybe? A win here constitutes a double sweep; one of the road trip and one of the Blazers. The Jazz seem pretty focused on each game, so I like their chances. Boozer on Camby is a bit problematic, but Carlos has posted two straight doubles-doubles on him. Portland is treading water at 5-5 over their last 10.

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