Trail Blazers Get a Much-Needed Vibes Reset in Blowout Win Over Jazz
Scoot Henderson, now with goggles, is back and the Blazers snapped an eight-game losing streak.
PORTLAND, Ore. — This is not a story of Scoot Henderson returning after a nine-game absence and carrying the Trail Blazers to a blowout win over the Jazz, their first victory since a home win against Memphis on Nov. 3.
Henderson returning from his ankle injury—now with goggles!—was the headline, but he wasn't the reason Portland snapped its eight-game losing streak and got a much-needed vibes reset ahead of a long post-Thanksgiving Midwest road trip.
Henderson wasn't the reason for the win because there wasn't one reason for the win. Jerami Grant had 30 points on 10-of-13 shooting, but it was a quiet 30-point game as these things go. 24 hours after guarding Devin Booker, Toumani Camara was given the Lauri Markkanen assignment and held his own against another on a growing list of All-Stars he's been tasked with slowing down. Jabari Walker played what might have been the best game of his career. Matisse Thybulle was a menace in the passing lanes and Malcolm Brogdon once again brought the calming presence at point guard that was missing in the five games he missed with a hamstring injury. About 20 minutes before tipoff, Deandre Ayton was scratched with back soreness, and Duop Reath filled in capably in his first career NBA start.
The Rose Garden Report is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
The pace that Chauncey Billups has been begging the Blazers to play with picked up as they ran the Jazz out of the building from the opening tip. Both of these teams were on the second night of a back-to-back, but only one of them looked like it. And with about five minutes to go and the Blazers up by 30, as Billups emptied his bench, Jazz head coach Will Hardy left his starters in until the final buzzer to make them wear it.
There aren't going to be many times this season that the Blazers are the team that does that to another team. They needed a game like this in the worst way, not only to end a long losing streak but to remind themselves that they're capable of playing this kind of basketball.
It's funny what having healthy point guards can do.
And Henderson? He was fine. He shot 1-for-7 from the field, with six of those seven shots coming in the first half. But the pull-up threes that have never been one of his strengths weren't as prominent as they were at the beginning of the season. His turnovers weren't of the wild, out-of-control variety they were in his first few games as he was trying to adjust to the speed of the NBA.