The Portland Trail Blazers ended their 2014 Las Vegas Summer League with a 75-73 loss to the Utah Jazz. Portland finishes their five-game schedule with two wins and three losses.
Friday’s game would have been Portland’s last regardless of the final score after a loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday eliminated the Blazers from advancing in single-eliminate tournament play.
Neither team had any luck putting the ball in the basket to start the game, with the Jazz missing 19 of their first 20 shots. The Trail Blazers didn’t fare much better, as they failed to get on the board until over three minutes had elapsed in the first quarter.
Utah didn’t record a field goal until the 4:04 mark of the first quarter (quarters in summer league games are 10 minutes in length), which would also be their only field goal of the quarter. And while Portland’s first-quarter struggles weren’t as stark as Utah’s, they managed just 11 points of their own while doling out minutes to many of the players not under contract with the team for next season.
But in such a low scoring game, the first team to find any semblance of rhythm offensively would likely finish the game as victors. Unfortunately for the Trail Blazers, it would be the Jazz who would be the first to the punch. Compared to the first ten minutes Utah’s second quarter was an offensive explosion, with Nick Covington and Erik Murphy finding their three-point strokes and Rudy Golbert scoring inside. Utah’s improved play, along with Portland’s continued struggles, gave the Jazz a 29-25 halftime lead.
After the half, the Jazz would use a 9-1 run to take an 11-point lead with just under eight minutes to play in the third quarter. Portland would answer back with a 12-2 run to cut the Utah’s lead to 40-39, but that would be just the first of a string of runs that would fall just short.
Both teams would score in bursts from there on out, with the Jazz pushing their lead to double-digits, only to have the Trail Blazers pull back to within a basket before the whole scenario would replayed itself.
Portland had a chance to win or tie the game 75-73 with 1.9 seconds to play, but CJ McCollum’s lob attempt to an open Will Barton was stolen away by Dante Exum, ending the game and Portland’s time in Las Vegas.
McCollum ended with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting to go along with two rebounds, two steals and an assist in 32 minutes. He finished summer league averaging 20.2 points per game on 48 percent shooting.
Barton, who came off the bench for the first time in Portland’s five summer league games, finished with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. Allen Crabbe got the start in place of Barton and responded with 10 points, eight rebounds and an assist in 28 minutes.