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Jazz beat Trail Blazers in preseason opener

Deron Williams scored 15 points, Paul Millsap had 16 points and eight rebounds, and the new-look Utah Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 100-96 on Thursday night in their preseason opener.

Wesley Matthews, who played for Utah as a rookie last season, scored 21 points and Dante Cunningham added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Portland (1-1).

Utah's starters outscored Portland's by 23 points playing almost exclusively in the first and third quarters.

"I thought it was a good group," Williams said of the starters. "Coach is probably going to switch lineups every game, but I thought our group did well."

Sundiata Gaines scored all of his eight points in the fourth quarter for the Jazz, who debuted new uniforms and a color scheme. Earl Watson hit two free throws with 7.2 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Utah got six points from center Al Jefferson and five from Raja Bell, both offseason additions to the starting lineup.

"(Jefferson was) looking to pass the basketball," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He's going to score points. He's still getting comfortable with us."

LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Fernandez each scored 15 points for Portland, which lost center Jeff Pendergraph to a right knee injury early in the second quarter. He did not return after being carted off the floor.

"I want to just think positive here and hope that nothing is seriously wrong with Jeff," said Blazers coach Nate McMillan, whose team is already without centers Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla because of knee injuries. "From what I saw and having only (Marcus) Camby and LaMarcus as your bigs, we know we have to go out and find someone here soon."

Jazz rookie Gordon Hayward, the ninth overall selection out of Butler, scored nine points, and fellow rookie Jeremy Evans had nine points and seven rebounds.

"Chasing a great shooter like Rudy Fernandez, it was tough on me in the first half," Hayward said. "Coach and the veterans told me some more pointers and it was better in the second half. I took a lot from this first game.

"It was fun, for sure. I'm glad we got the win."

Portland scored 40 points in the second quarter to erase most of an 18-point deficit and trail by just three at halftime. But against the Jazz starters, the Blazers managed just 15 points in the first quarter and 14 in the third as Utah extended the lead to 79-69.

NOTES: Utah has won five straight preseason games against Portland. The Jazz are 13-6 all-time against the Blazers in the preseason. ... Utah was without centers Mehmet Okur (Achilles') and Francisco Elson (hamstring).