Jan 4, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) looks to pass defended by Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) at the FedEx Forum. Portland defeated Memphis 86-84. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Keys To The Game: Memphis Grizzlies vs Portland Trail Blazers

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies are coming off of a 111-89 win over the 5th ranked scoring defense in the NBA (Charlotte Bobcats).  Tonight the Grizzlies will face one of the worst defenses in the entire NBA against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Keys to the game:

1. Conley needs to find his rhythm: Mike Conley has been sporadic since coming back from injury. The Memphis point guard has struggled mightily at times, but is coming off one of the best games of his career where he hit a career high five 3pt FG against Charlotte on Saturday. Conley may have an easier time against Portland on Tuesday night because All Star Damian Lillard isn’t the best on the defensive side.

2. Randolph needs to contain Lamarcus Aldridge: Blazers PF Lamarcus Aldridge is having the best year of his career. The All Star PF is averaging 23 PPG and 11 rebounds.  The last time these two teams faced each other, Aldridge went off on Randolph for 27 points and 16 rebounds but the Grizzlies were victorious 98-81.

3.Marc Gasol vs. Robin Lopez: Blazers Center Robin Lopez is having the best year of his young career averaging 10.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.  He has been a double-double machine for Portland this year and leads the team with 1.71 blocks per game. In the Blazers last game vs. Houston, Lopez had 5 blocks, 11 points and 11 rebounds.  Though his offensive stats aren’t amazing for a center, the team is much improved over last season when they had J.J. Hickson under the basket.  Marc Gasol had a terrific game against the Blazers earlier this year in Portland Gasol had 15 points (7-13 FG) and 8 rebounds.  Turnovers were a major problem for Gasol in the last time these two teams played as he coughed up the ball five times.

Now I’m quite impartial as to who wins this game because I’m a huge fan of both.  I’ve had family live in Portland for a number of years now, but have been a Memphis fan much longer.  Here’s hoping to a victory tonight for the Grizzlies and a great game. Grit n’ Grind!

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies Portland Trail Blazers

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