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Jazz rout Blazers, clinch division, will be No. 5 seed

Sportsnaut
Apr 10, 2022; Portland, Oregon, USA; Utah Jazz power forward Royce O'Neale (23) dribbles the ball while defended by  Portland Trail Blazers point guard Brandon Williams (8) during the first half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Juancho Hernangomez scored 22 points with eight rebounds and Rudy Gobert totaled 18 points and 13 boards to lead the Utah Jazz to a 111-80 win over the host Portland Trail Blazers in the regular-season finale Sunday night.

Utah (49-33), playing without starters Donovan Mitchell (non-COVID illness) and Bojan Bogdanovic (rest), clinched the No. 5 seed with the easy victory. The Jazz will face the No. 4 Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs beginning next weekend.

Mike Conley Jr. tossed in 14 points for the Jazz, who clinched the Northwest Division despite a horrendous offensive start. Rookie Jared Butler added 11 points and Jordan Clarkson had nine points and 11 rebounds.

Reggie Perry led the Blazers with 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Portland (27-55) finished with the sixth-worst record in the NBA.

Utah got off to a rough start offensively, scoring just 16 points in the first quarter on 5-for-26 shooting and missing its first 17 3-point attempts. Fortunately for the Jazz, Portland, missing its seven leading scorers, couldn’t seize the opportunity and only held a three-point lead after the first quarter.

Butler ended Utah’s drought from beyond the arc in the second quarter. Clarkson then drained a 3-pointer to cap an 18-2 run, putting the Jazz up 34-23.

Utah took a 52-40 lead into the break after scoring 36 points in the second quarter, including the final seven.

The Jazz held Portland, which shot just 37% for the game, to 40 points in the second half, including only 16 in the third quarter when they blew the game open.

Utah didn’t let up in the fourth quarter as its reserves pushed the lead to as many as 34 points.

This put closure on a disappointing season for the Blazers, who were without star Damian Lillard for most of the year because of a stomach injury. He addressed the crowd before the game, promising that the team would rebound next season.

–Field Level Media