NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, November 20th (All times eastern)
Utah Jazz (8-5) at Portland Trail Blazers (8-5), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Northwest Division rivals clash in the Rose City tonight when the banged-up Portland Trail Blazers entertain a Utah Jazz club minus head coach Jerry Sloan.
Injuries continue to haunt the Blazers but the team has managed to remain competitive, earning its second straight win in the opener of a three-game homestand on Thursday against Denver.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in that one, as Portland held off the Nuggets, 86-83.
Wesley Matthews, who signed as free agent with the Blazers this offseason after his rookie year n Utah, added 20 points and 10 boards for the Blazers, who improved to 4-1 at home this season. Andre Miller tallied 16 points and six assists for Portland, which got 14 points and six rebounds from Nicolas Batum.
The Blazers, who will finish their residency against New Orleans on Nov. 26 continue to toil without All-Star swingman Brandon Roy, who is dealing with a degenerative right knee problem. Meanwhile, oft-injured center Greg Oden, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee Friday and will miss the remainder of the 2010-11 season.
Oden, who has not played in an NBA game since fracturing his left patella on December 5, 2009, had already undergone a microfracture surgery on his right knee that kept him out of his entire rookie campaign. He has yet to play in more than 61 games in a season. In fact, out of a possible 259 regular season games that he has spent on the Blazers' roster since entering the NBA, Oden has played in only 82 of them.
The Jazz, meanwhile, finished a three-game homestand at an uncharacteristic 1-2 when the red-hot San Antonio Spurs dispensed of them on Friday. Tim Duncan became the Spurs' all-time NBA scoring leader with 19 points, while Tony Parker had 24 points and seven assists in that one to help San Antonio defeat Utah, 94-82.
Deron Williams had 23 points for Utah, which had won six of its last seven coming in, including Wednesday's 98-88 victory over New Jersey. Paul Millsap had 12 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
"They did a good job of just executing their stuff and getting stops when they needed them," Jazz guard C.J. Miles said. "They got a lot of offensive rebounds; that really hurt us. But they just do what veterans do, they close it out."
Sloan missed the game to attend a family member's funeral and will be absent again tonight. Highly-regarded assistant coach Phil Johnson will assume the head coaching duties. Sloan is expected to rejoin his club for Monday night's home game against Sacramento.
Utah has beaten Portland four consecutive times.
11/20 10:41:13 ET