Jazz escape Blazers in controversial ending, leave Lillard fuming

Jazz escape Blazers in controversial ending, leave Lillard fuming
The referees miss what should have been a goaltending call on a potential game-tying basket by Damian Lillard in the last 10 seconds

MANILA, Philippines – A crucial no-call marred what could have been a thrilling ending as the Utah Jazz survived Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers, 117-114, on Friday, February 7 (Saturday, February 8, Manila time).

The referees missed a goaltending call on a potential game-tying layup by Lillard in the final 10 seconds, paving the way for the Jazz to escape with the controversial victory and end their five-game losing streak. 

Lillard tried to answer a Donovan Mitchell bucket that gave the Jazz a 116-114 lead with 20 seconds left, but saw his shot swatted away by Rudy Gobert.

Replays, however, showed that the ball already touched the board before it was blocked by Gobert – a play that should have been ruled as a goaltend. 

But the officials did not change the call as Bojan Bogdanovic, who finished with a team-high 27 points, iced the win for the Jazz with a free throw. 

Mike Conley chalked up 18 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals, Mitchell had 16 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds, while Gobert added 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Jazz, who are 33-18 for 4th place in the Western Conference.

Joe Ingles chimed in 14 points and 6 rebounds, while Jordan Clarkson came off the bench and tallied 13 points in the win. 

Lillard, fuming mad at the referees at the end of the game, saw his 42 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists go to waste with the Blazers falling short of what could have been their sixth victory in the last 7 games.

The Blazers, who dropped to 24-29, need as many wins as possible as they trail the Memphis Grizzlies by 2.5 games for the last playoff spot in the West. 

CJ McCollum put up 27 points and 5 rebounds in the loss. – Rappler.com

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