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Rookie Shines In Blazers’ Preseason Win

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Damian Lillard speaks to head coach Terry Stotts (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBA via Getty Images)

Damian Lillard speaks to head coach Terry Stotts (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBA via Getty Images)

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Nicolas Batum scored 27 points and rookie Damian Lillard had 21 as the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Utah Jazz 120-114 on Monday night.

Batum scored 15 points in the first quarter and hit five 3-pointers. Lillard, the No. 6 pick of the draft, made three 3-pointers during the first half.

J.J. Hickson had 16 points and eight rebounds, and Wesley Matthews scored 15 points for Portland (3-3). The Blazers made 12 3-pointers and shot 58 percent (42 of 73) overall from the field.

Portland All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge (rest) didn’t play. He has averaged 15 points and six rebounds in five preseason games.

Enes Kanter came off the bench to score 18 points for Utah (4-3). Mo Williams scored 15 points, while Al Jefferson and Alec Burks had 14 for the Jazz, who shot 52 percent and had six players score in double figures.

Portland took over after spotting Utah a 10-4 lead. A 23-4 run midway through the period fueled Portland to a 41-26 lead after one quarter. The Blazers hit 16 of 20 shots and went 5 of 6 from 3-point range during the opening quarter.

Portland cooled only slightly during the second quarter as the Blazers ran off to a 70-46 halftime lead. Lillard, who sat most of the first quarter with two fouls, scored 11 points during the period. Portland shot 69 percent (27 of 39) during the first half, and hit nine 3-point shots.

The Blazers led by as many as 26 points in the second half. Utah got as close as six points in the fourth quarter, where it outscored the Blazers 41-26.

Portland’s starters shot a combined 31 of 45 from the field.

Notes: Portland and Utah play Thursday in Salt Lake City. It is the final preseason game for both teams, which open the regular season at home Oct. 31, the Blazers playing the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah playing Dallas. . Utah guard Jamaal Tinsley returned to action after missing Saturday’s game (tooth extraction). . Former Jazz stars John Stockton and Karl Malone will be inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday. . Both teams achieved their highest-scoring quarters of the preseason, Portland’s 41-point first quarter and Utah’s 41-point fourth quarter.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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