SALT LAKE CITY -- The Portland Trail Blazers had to settle for a near-perfect December.
The Blazers' 13-game winning streak ended Monday night with a 111-101 loss to the Utah Jazz, Portland's first defeat since Dec. 2.
"It was a great month for us. We lost the first game of the month and the last game of the month. Any time you do that, I think that's a sign of a young team maturing," said Brandon Roy, who scored 17 for the Blazers. "You can't win all of them. It's an NBA season. We'd like to, but Utah played great tonight."
Andrei Kirilenko had 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, Carlos Boozer had 19 points and nine rebounds and Deron Williams added eight points and eight assists. The Jazz also got a boost from newcomer Kyle Korver, who scored 11 in his Utah debut.
The Blazers were three victories away from tying the franchise record and had beaten Utah twice already during the run.
Portland coach Nate McMillan was attending a family funeral and not with the team to see the streak come to an end. It was just as well he missed it. The Blazers were outrebounded 40-31 and outscored in the paint 62-22.
"They dominated us on the boards tonight and they got us," Roy said. "We weren't able to make up for it."
LaMarcus Aldridge scored a career-high 36 points, but he and Roy were the only Portland starters to score in double figures.
The Blazers couldn't overcome a cold stretch in the third quarter, going scoreless for almost three minutes and without a field goal for 4:34 as the Jazz pulled away on a 20-3 run. Portland also failed to capitalize on a huge advantage from the foul line.
"We were aggressive offensively and we got stops when had to get stops for us to win the game," Boozer said.
The Blazers were 33-for-43 from the line, going 4-for-9 in the fourth quarter. The Blazers slowly walked off the court as streamers fell and Auld Lang Syne played over the PA system.
Jazz fans were off to celebrate the new year while the Blazers were headed to Minnesota knowing their run had ended.
It couldn't have been that much of a downer. The Blazers were only 5-12 when the streak began and will begin 2008 at 18-13.
"I told these guys, if they go about their lives and work the way they've done since August until now, they're going to have a lot of good months and they're going to have a lot of good streaks," said assistant coach Dean Demopoulos, who coached for McMillan.
The Blazers opened the game 11-for-15 from the floor and looked like their December roll would continue, but it all stopped midway through the third quarter after Jones hit a 3-pointer to put Portland up 71-65.
Williams hit a pair of quick pullup jumpers for the Jazz, fed Boozer for a dunk and then hit a 3-pointer during a 11-0 run that put the Jazz up 77-71 midway through the third quarter.
The Blazers went scoreless from Jones' 3-pointer with 6:27 left until Jones made a free throw with 3:30 left in the third. The Blazers went without a field goal until Channing Frye's 20-footer with 1:53 left in the period, ending an 8-0 run for the Jazz and cutting the lead to 85-76.
The Blazers went without a field goal for 4:34 and trailed 87-79 at the end of three.
After an illegal screen on Utah, Roy cut the lead to 89-85, but Kirilenko answered with a 3-pointer. Kirilenko added a nice pass to Korver inside for a layup that turned into a three-point play when Korver got Frye in the air and forced the foul, then Kirilenko took a steal all the way for a dunk to put Utah up 97-89 with 6:44 left in the game.
For every one Portland scored, the Jazz seemed to score about two or three. Aldridge tipped in a miss for Portland, then Paul Millsap got a layup for the Jazz and Williams hit Korver with a long pass for a layup that fueled the Jazz fans and forced Portland to call a time out, trailing 101-91 with 4:36 left in the game.
Travis Outlaw hit a late 3-pointer that got Portland within 105-98, but the Blazers had to foul and Korver, already a hit in his first game with the Jazz, made both free throws to seal it.
Korver was just traded to Utah from Philadelphia on Saturday.
"He works hard to try to get himself open for shots that he can make," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "On top of that, I thought he did a pretty good job trying to defend not knowing what we're trying to do for the most part."
|Andrei Kirilenko puts home the easiest two of his 14 points in Utah's big victory. (Getty Images)|
|Utah (17-16) «||23||29||35||24||111|
|POR:L. Aldridge 36 Pts
POR:J. Jack 5 Reb
POR:S. Blake 7 Ast
|UTA:C. Boozer 19 Pts
UTA:C. Boozer 9 Reb
UTA:D. Williams 8 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|L. Aldridge, PF||38||12-17||12-14||3||0||1||36|
|B. Roy, SG||33||6-13||5-6||4||5||6||17|
|S. Blake, PG||31||2-7||0-0||3||7||3||5|
|M. Webster, SG||24||1-3||1-1||4||3||3||4|
|J. Przybilla, C||16||0-0||0-0||4||1||3||0|
|J. Jones, SF||25||3-5||7-9||1||1||3||15|
|J. Jack, PG||24||0-5||5-5||5||0||0||5|
|T. Outlaw, SF||21||3-6||3-8||3||0||4||11|
|C. Frye, PF||21||4-7||0-0||3||2||5||8|
|S. Rodriguez, PG||7||0-1||0-0||1||2||0||0|
|R. LaFrentz, PF||Did Not Play|
|D. Miles, SF||Did Not Play|
|T. Green, PG||Did Not Play|
|J. McRoberts, PF||Did Not Play|
|G. Oden, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|D. Williams, PG||34||7-13||3-5||3||8||3||18|
|A. Kirilenko, SF||31||5-8||2-3||8||7||4||14|
|C. Boozer, PF||31||9-15||1-2||9||1||5||19|
|M. Okur, C||21||2-8||2-2||1||0||4||6|
|R. Brewer, SG||18||1-4||2-4||1||2||2||4|
|P. Millsap, PF||35||7-10||0-0||6||2||3||14|
|K. Korver, SF||18||3-7||4-4||1||1||3||11|
|M. Harpring, SF||17||5-8||5-5||8||0||2||15|
|J. Hart, PG||14||1-4||0-0||0||4||0||2|
|C. Miles, SG||12||3-6||0-0||1||1||2||7|
|J. Collins, C||8||0-1||1-2||2||0||1||1|
|R. Price, PG||Did Not Play|
|M. Almond, SG||Did Not Play|
|K. Fesenko, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|