Blazers open summer league with victory



LAS VEGAS — The Portland Trail Blazers never trailed by more than two points and pulled away in the fourth quarter to come away with a 72-63 victory over the Utah Jazz in their first game of the Las Vegas Summer League on Saturday afternoon.

“I thought it went well,” said Jake Layman, who started at forward for the Blazers. “It was the first game, everybody is a little tired out there obviously. I thought for our first game we played really well. We were moving the ball and, most importantly, we were guarding.”

The Blazers held the Jazz to 32 percent shooting from the field and 20 percent shooting from three while winning the rebound battle 43-32 and leading by as many as 15.

In total, Portland looked like the better team throughout despite Utah having already played three games in its own backyard at the summer league in Salt Lake City.

But the Trail Blazers still would have had plenty to be happy about even if the end result had gone the other way. Caleb Swanigan, selected by the Trail Blazers with the 26th pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, looked every bit as impressive on the boards as he did during two seasons at Purdue, putting up a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds in his first professional game.

The Trail Blazers also saw what they wanted to see from Layman in the first game of his second summer league stint.

The 6-foot-9 forward, who appeared in 35 games for Portland during his rookie season, scored his first points on a baseline dunk on the way to going 4-of-8 from the field for 13 points and five rebounds in 29 minutes.

The Trail Blazers have at least four more games to play in Vegas. They face the Celtics at 5:30 p.m. today.