PORTLAND, Ore. -- Another dominant win for the Trail Blazers, who are overwhelming opponents in their quest for home-court advantage in the playoffs.
Portland routed Utah 125-104 on Tuesday, winning its third consecutive game by at least 20 points. The Blazers (47-27) blitzed the Jazz with torrid shooting, hitting a season-high 61.6 percent (47-of-76) from the field.
It was the first time Portland has won three consecutive games by at least 20 points since March 24-28, 1992.
The runaway wins over Utah, Memphis and Phoenix put Portland 1½ games behind first-place Denver in the Northwest Division, and fifth place overall in the Western Conference with eight games remaining. The Blazers, who trail Houston by one game for fourth place and home-court advantage in the first round, play five of their final eight games on the road, but only four against playoff-contending opponents.
The most important of the three wins was Utah, which was tied with Portland for second place in the Northwest Division heading into Tuesday. The Jazz (46-28) lost their 15th consecutive road game against an opponent with a winning record and fell into seventh place in the West.
"Every game matters, but I think this game meant a lot for us trying to get a division title and just move up in the playoff race," said Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, who led the Blazers with 26 points.
Aldridge hit 10 of 16 shots, while Brandon Roy made 10 of 14 shots and had 25 points and handed out a season-high 11 assists. Six Portland players scored in double figures.
Portland clicked from the game's outset, racing to a 32-13 lead eight minutes into the first quarter. At one point, the Blazers scored on 10 consecutive possessions.
"They came out and really didn't miss anything from the start, regardless of what defense we had," Utah guard Deron Williams said.
Utah slowed Portland's momentum during the rest of the first half, at one point closing within eight points. But Portland, leading 61-48 at halftime, took off during the third quarter much like it did at the start of the game. The Blazers quickly rolled to an 80-57 lead six minutes into the third quarter. The highlight was a run of 11 unanswered points, punctuated at the end with consecutive fast-break dunks by Aldridge.
Utah never got closer than 19 points the rest of the game.
"I'm just impressed with the way these guys came out from the jump," Roy said. "Everybody was excited in the locker room, everybody was upbeat and ready to go give 48 minutes of all-out effort."
Carlos Boozer, who led the Jazz with 20 points, and Portland's Joel Przybilla were ejected after receiving consecutive offsetting technical fouls in the third quarter. Two minutes later, Utah coach Jerry Sloan, outraged over a foul call, joined Boozer in the locker room after he was hit with a pair of technicals.
Sloan didn't offer any excuses for Utah's play.
"They were just sensational; they moved the basketball, passed the ball, got the ball and beat us down the floor," Sloan said. "There just wasn't much we were able to do with them."
Like Portland, Utah plays five of its final eight games on the road, but faces five opponents that are likely headed for the NBA playoffs.
Portland guard Rudy Fernandez missed the game because of back spasms. He is averaging 10.4 points per game. ... The Blazers are 16-2 in their last 18 home games. ... Portland has won 31 games in the Rose Garden this season, the most by the franchise since it moved into the building in 1995. ... Utah and Portland split their four-game season series. The Jazz hold the tiebreaker edge over Portland because of a superior conference record.
- Ron Garretson
- Violet Palmer
- Olandis Poole