Booker’s career-high 36 lifts Jazz over Blazers

Portland's hopes of home-court advantage in the playoffs slipped away.

Utah guard Dante Exum is hit in the face by Blazers guard Damian Lillard's elbow as they chase down a loose ball in Portland, April 11, 2015. Lillard was called for a foul on the play. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Utah guard Dante Exum is hit in the face by Blazers guard Damian Lillard's elbow as they chase down a loose ball in Portland, April 11, 2015. Lillard was called for a foul on the play. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Trevor Booker scored a career-high 36 points and the Utah Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 111-105 on Saturday night with both teams missing key players.

Portland’s hopes of home-court advantage in the playoffs slipped away. The Blazers won the Northwest Division, but the four teams with the best records in each conference get home court in the post season and the Blazers can’t catch the Los Angeles Clippers, who beat the Grizzlies 94-86 on Saturday night.

The Jazz led by as many as 15 points, but Portland kept it close throughout the second half. Damian Lillard hit a short jumper to pull the Blazers to 101-99, and Robin Lopez’s layup tied it at 101 with 2:33 to go.

Rodney Hood’s short jumper gave the Jazz back the lead, and Booker added a pair of free throws for a 105-101 Utah lead and the Blazers couldn’t catch up. Hood finished with 21 points.

Lillard led the Blazers with 28 points, and CJ McCollum had 26.

The Blazers did not have LaMarcus Aldridge because of a sore left foot. It was unclear when the All-Star forward was injured, but coach Terry Stotts said before the game that an MRI was negative.

Portland also was without Arron Afflalo, who has a right shoulder strain and might not be available until midway through the first round of the playoffs. Afflalo was hurt in the Blazers’ 116-105 loss at Golden State on Thursday night.

Portland started 7-foot-1 center Meyers Leonard in Aldridge’s place alongside fellow 7-footer Lopez.

The Jazz, already eliminated from the playoffs, rested regular starters Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors for the game. Guard Trey Burke did not make the trip to Portland because of a sore back.

Utah was coming off an 89-88 loss at home to Memphis on Friday night.

Booker started for the just the fourth time this season and had 19 points in the first quarter alone as the Jazz built a 32-19 lead. Booker’s previous season-high for points this season was 17.

McCollum scored 10-straight points, pulling the Blazers to 44-42. But the Jazz went on a 10-2 run to go up 54-44 and led 56-46 at the half.

McCollum’s basket and a pair of free throws pulled the Blazers even with Utah at 56, and they briefly pulled ahead 59-58 on a free throw from Lopez.

Leonard’s dunk gave the Blazers a 79-77 lead and McCollum pushed it to 86-81 with a long jumper. But the Jazz went on a 13-0 run, capped by Chris Johnson’s layup with 6:54 left, to go ahead 94-86.

TIP INS

Jazz: Seven of Utah’s available players were rookies. The starting lineup has a combined five years of NBA experience before this season.

Trail Blazers: Allan Crabbe’s 11 points were a career high.

UP NEXT

Jazz: Host Dallas on Monday night.

Trail Blazers: At Oklahoma City on Monday night.

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