National Basketball Association
Utah at Portland
When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
The No. 3 seed in the Western Conference is on the line Wednesday, when the Utah Jazz visit the Portland Trail Blazers. The streaking Jazz have won six straight and 29 of their last 34 games after dismantling Golden State 119-79 on Tuesday, while Portland has dropped its last four contests.
The loser of Wednesday's matchup risks opening a first-round playoff series on the road, and both teams are well aware of the importance of the result. "Portland is a really tough place to play," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said during Tuesday's postgame press conference. "It is an important game from a seeding standpoint... You want to have the opportunity to have homecourt." The Jazz are 2-1 this season against the Trail Blazers, who are craving a victory to get back on track in addition to securing home-floor advantage. "I think we're playing good basketball," Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard told reporters. "Just playing against desperate teams, teams trying to make it happen - and now it comes down to one game." TV:
10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain (Utah), NBCS Northwest (Portland)ABOUT THE JAZZ (48-33):
Donovan Mitchell arrived for Tuesday's contest wearing a shirt displaying the definition of a rookie, clearly taking a shot at Philadelphia's Ben Simmons, a player who missed all of last season with a foot injury and is battling Mitchell for Rookie of the Year honors. Mitchell, who scored 22 points against Golden State, made four 3-pointers to raise his season total to 186 - surpassing the NBA rookie record previously held by Lillard (185 in 2012-13). "It's incredible," Mitchell said in a postgame television interview. "I wouldn't be able to do it without my teammates and without my coaching staff having faith and trust in me. I'm thankful to be in this spot."ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (48-33):
Backup forward Ed Davis (ankle) returned from a four-game absence to collect five rebounds in 15 minutes of Monday's 88-82 loss to Denver, and coach Terry Stotts made it clear he appreciates the 28-year-old, who averages 5.3 points and 7.4 rebounds. "What he offers on the court is unique, as far as his rebounding, his screen setting, his finishing around the paint, all those things," Stotts told reporters. "His presence in the locker room, his presence on the bench, just the intangibles. He's been a very integral part of what we've done this year." Jusuf Nurkic is on a roll with four straight double-doubles after contributing 20 points and 19 rebounds in the loss to Denver.BUZZER BEATERS
1. The Jazz averaged 113.5 points in their two victories over the Trail Blazers but were walloped 100-81 in their loss.
2. Lillard has scored at least 25 points in each of his last four games, averaging 28.5 during the stretch.
3. Utah G Dante Exum (left lower leg soreness) is questionable after departing Tuesday's contest.PREDICTION:
Jazz 107, Trail Blazers 105
Stats and Records