The Memphis Grizzlies came into Friday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers with a 20-9 record coming off a 93-83 road win over the Boston Celtics Wednesday night. Portland was 16-15 and had just been routed Wednesday night by the Toronto Raptors 102-79. Memphis forward Zach Randolph was a late scratch with flu-like symptoms.
The first quarter was pretty even as neither team led by more than 4 points. Memphis took 4 point leads at 21-17 and 23-19 twice late in the quarter. They would hold on for a 25-24 lead at the end of the quarter. Center Marc Gasol hit a 22 foot jumper at the buzzer.
Portland took an early 28-25 lead in the second. Memphis then went on a 13-4 run over the next 5 minutes to go up 38-32 with just over 6 minutes to go. The Grizzlies would extend the lead to 46-38 with 3:26 to go before the half. Portland went on a 9-0 lead to regain the lead with 1:28 left in the quarter. They would not score for the rest of the half as the Grizzlies went into the locker room up 50-47.
In the third quarter, Portland guard Wesley Matthews made two 3 pointers in the first minute of the third to give Portland a 53-52 lead. The teams would trade the lead until Mike Conley buried 2 free throws to give the Grizzlies a 60-58 lead with 7:24 to go. The Grizzlies would expand the lead to 64-58, but could never expand the lead. The Blazers would get no closer than 2 points until 35 seconds to go in the quarter when they took a 72-70 lead. Guard Wayne Ellington hit two free throws with 19 seconds left to tie it up at 72. That would be the score at the end of the quarter.
Both teams went ice cold in the fourth quarter. Memphis took a 78-75 lead with 9 minutes to go. The Grizzlies would not score again until Gasol hit a six footer to give the Grizzlies an 80-79 lead. Portland only scored 4 points in that time frame so the Grizzlies were able to stay in the game. Nicholas Batum would give the Blazers an 83-80 lead with 3:27 to go on a three pointer. Center J.J. Hickson would make two free throws with 2 minutes to go to make it 85-82 Blazers. Memphis forward Marreese Speights who started for Randolph made two free throws with 53 seconds left to make it 85-84 Portland.
On the next Portland possession, the Blazers missed 2 tip ins and weren’t able to score. Memphis forward Rudy Gay missed a 12 footer. Gasol got the rebound but Conley missed a lay-up with 7 seconds to go. Forward Lamarcus Aldridge made one of two free throws for the Blazers with 2 seconds to go to make it 86-84 Portland. The Grizzlies called a full timeout and a 20 second to inbound the ball at midcourt. Gay missed a 22 footer at the buzzer to give Portland the win.
Memphis dropped to 20-10, 3.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the Southwest Divisiion. Portland is 17-15 on the season. The game featured 9 ties and 21 lead changes.
Portland shot 40.7% from the field and made 10 of 27 from 3 point range. The Blazers made 10 of 15 free throws. Portland had 41 rebounds, 22 assists, 9 steals 7 blocks, and 15 turnovers. The Blazers had 12 fast break points and 28 points in the paint.
Matthews had 21 points, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 rebounds. He made 5 of 8 3 pointers. Hickson had 19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, an assist, and a steal. Aldridge had 15 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 3 assists. Batum had 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Point guard Damian Lillard had 11 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and a steal. The Portland bench scored only 9 points. That really isn’t surprising as the Blazers average a league low 17.7 points off the bench.
Memphis shot 39.5% from the field including 2 of 5 from 3 point range. The Grizzlies made all 18 of their free throws. Memphis had 45 rebounds, 13 assists, 10 steals, 9 blocks and 14 turnovers. The Grizzlies had 12 fast break points and 46 points in the paint.
Speights had 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead all scorers. Gay had 19 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. He was 8 for 21 shooting though. Gasol had 12 points 8 blocks, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Forward Darrell Arthur had 10 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Wayne Ellington had 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. Conley had 6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
This was an ugly game. Neither team shot very well, but Portland did make 10 three pointers. Speights played well, but this team isn’t the same without Randolph. Next up for Memphis is a trip to Phoenix to take on the Suns Sunday night.