When Utah took down San Antonio on Monday night without star Donovan Mitchell, it was because the defense turned in a sensational performance.

Come Wednesday night versus Portland again without Mitchell, it was the offense that flourished this time.

Led by six players who scored 15 points or more, the Jazz beat the shorthanded Blazers 120-105, their eighth straight road victory.

“I thought we adjusted as the game went on,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “I think that we’re getting better. … We’re going to continue to find out if we can be as effective on the road in the month of January.”

With Mitchell missing his second-straight game with a left lower back strain, the Jazz knew they would need a big night offensively to get past Damian Lillard. While the starters more than held their own, it was the bench that did the most damage for Utah by outscoring Portland 59-22 on the night.

Rudy Gay shined brightest, dropping a season-high 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 3-for-7 from beyond the arc. He once again proved how much of a mismatch nightmare he is by using his size to overpower smaller defenders and his quick shot release to beat closing defenders.

Gay, who missed the first 14 games of the season recovering from offseason heel surgery, has scored in doubled digits in seven out of 20 games this season.

“Offensively, we moved the ball around and we just helped each other out defensively,” Gay said. “We just play well together.”

Jordan Clarkson continued his sensational play of late, dropping 19 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals. He played 30 minutes tonight, the first time all season he’s played back-to-back games of 30+ minutes.

With Clarkson handling things on the perimeter and Gay doing his thing in the midrange, Hassan Whiteside dominated the paint. He finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season.

“That’s why having a good bench is so important in this league,” Rudy Gobert said. “There’s a lot of games where our bench is winning for us just because of the level of talent we have. … The focus and the way guys are able to come into the game impact the game in their own way.”

Utah came out hot to start the game, jumping out to a 16-3 lead midway through the first quarter. Bojan Bogdanovic was the biggest culprit, scoring nine points in the opening quarter as the Jazz led 36-27 after the opening 12 minutes.

Portland found some footing in the second quarter, cutting Utah’s lead to six with just under eight to play in the half. But the Jazz responded with a 14-4 run to seize control and eventually take a 69-59 lead at the break.

The third quarter saw both offenses cool down as neither team developed much of a rhythm, leading to a Utah 96-82 lead entering the fourth.

The final 12 minutes started with Gay and Gobert leading the way, combing to score Utah’s first 11 points as the Jazz opened up a 22-point lead early on and cruised to the victory.

“I was disappointed throughout the first three quarters that we would build a lead and then we would let up a little bit. … We didn’t extend it,” Snyder said. “That’s something we talked about.”

Gobert posted his 28th double-double of the season when he finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds, adding two blocks for good measure. Mike Conley added 15 points and six assists, while Bogdanovic chipped in 15 points.

The Jazz return home for a back-to-back special spanning the new year. They face Minnesota for the third time this season on Friday before hosting Golden State for the first time on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MST both times.


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