Meyers Leonard scores 19 in Blazers 88-81 preseason win over Jazz
The Portland Trail Blazers played their fourth preseason game Monday against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. Behind 19 points and eight rebounds from Meyers Leonard, the Blazers won 88-81 to move to 2-2 in the preseason. CJ McCollum scored 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five turnovers in the start at point guard while Damian Lillard sat for the second straight game. McCollum was ejected late in the fourth quarter of the win due to a flagrant two foul on Gordon Hayward.
The Jazz are popular selection to make the playoffs after a fantastic close to the season after trading Enes Kanter. Meyers Leonard was on fire in the first half. Leonard had 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting and five rebounds. He also had one assist on an alley-oop to Mason Plumlee in the 1st quarter. The Blazers played solid defense against the Jazz, who project to be a playoff team because of the strength of their defense rather than their offense. Portland held them to 36 points in the first half, helping them survive a 2-for-12 first half from CJ McCollum.
Crabbe and Aminu, the starters at the two and the three, were a combined 1-for-8. Gordon Hayward shot well offensively but Utah’s ball movement resulted only in six assists. The Jazz were 1-for-9 from long range. Including four 3-pointers from Leonard, Portland led by six at halftime with six 3-pointers in the first half. The Jazz couldn’t shake the Blazers. And although it was easy to overlook their win against the Warriors, but Monday’s win was more evidence that the Blazers won’t be a pushover in the Western Conference. Hayward played 33 minutes, scoring 10 points and going 3-for-15. Alec Burks was the most efficient Jazz player, going 6-for-13. Rodney Hood scored 13 points off the bench but was 3-for-10 from the field. The Jazz never got going offensively and the Blazers were able to muster enough to beat them. Stotts showed a ten-man rotation with Al-Farouq Aminu logging 37 minutes. I think we are already seeing that the Blazers are planning on playing Amimu big minutes.
- Tim Frazier played 15 minutes on Monday and Phil Pressey didn’t see the floor, after playing 27 minutes against the Kings on Saturday. This battle seems to still be up for grabs. The Blazers have until Sunday before they face the Jazz again. It will be interesting to see who gets the minutes with Lillard back in the line-up.
- All of Portland’s starters on Monday, McCollum, Leonard, Aminu, Crabbe and Mason Plumlee had positive +/- ratings.
- Moe Harkless looked good in his return from a concussion. Harkless had 11 points, three steals and two rebounds in 20 minutes.