PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 25 points and the Portland Trail Blazers, boosted by the return of center Robin Lopez, held off the Utah Jazz 103-102 on Tuesday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 points and 11 rebounds as Portland snapped a three-game losing streak.
After wrestling for the lead to start the fourth quarter, Wesley Matthews hit two straight 3-pointers and the Blazers went up 98-89 with 3:26 left.
Gordon Hayward’s 3 closed the Jazz to within 99-96, but Lillard answered with a driving layup. Joe Ingles hit another 3 for the Jazz to pull within 101-99 with 9.9 seconds left.
Aldridge made free throws before Trey Burke hit a 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds to go. Lillard missed his first free throw on the other end, then missed the second one intentionally and time ran out on Utah.
Hayward finished with 27 points for the Jazz, who were coming off 110-100 victory over the Western Conference-leading Warriors
Portland was coming off a 95-88 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday night, concluding a futile three-game road trip.
But the Blazers got some good news prior to the game with the return of 7-foot center Lopez, who fractured his right hand in a Dec. 15 game against San Antonio. He missed 23 games.
Lopez, wearing a black wrap on his hand, made his first shot of the night, a dunk. His return sparked the Blazers, who got off to a 27-23 start after the first quarter. Aldridge led the way with 14 points.
Nicolas Batum, who has been struggling with a sore wrist, hit a 3-pointer that made it 42-35, but the Jazz evened it up at 42 on Trey Burke’s layup and a pair of free throws. Hayward’s 3-pointer gave the Jazz a 47-44 lead at the half.
Portland regained a 57-50 lead early in the second on Lopez’s layup and pushed the lead to as many as 11 points. But the Jazz answered with a 12-5 run to tie it at 62 after Hayward’s layup.
The Jazz responded to cut Portland’s lead to 72-70 going into the fourth quarter. The two teams wrestled back-and-forth the rest of the way.
Jazz: The Jazz were the only team the Blazers’ hadn’t faced this season.
Trail Blazers: Former Oregon Ducks running backs LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner were at the game. … Lopez had to leave the game briefly in the third quarter because of a bad cut above his left eye.
Jazz coach Quin Snyder, who grew up on Mercer Island in Washington, is a lifelong Seattle Seahawks fan. He said before the game Tuesday that he admired Seattle’s communication skills. Yes, even Richard Sherman’s.
“We showed our guys some of Richard Sherman, not talking to the camera, but talking to his teammates,” Snyder said.
Jazz: Host the Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
Trail Blazers: Host the Suns on Thursday night.