Trail Blazers 99 Grizzlies 109
Zach Randolph : (B+) 38 MIN 18 PTS 8-19 FG 12 REB 4 AST 1 STL, +12
Had extreme difficulty getting himself into the game in the 1st quarter and took a seat on the bench early. Came back in the 2nd quarter and played his signature game the rest of the way. Unstoppable down the low post , gobbled up plenty of zbounds, multiple timely passes, twice out-hustling everyone in transition, and showed admirable effort on the defensive end slowing down Aldridge.
Tayshaun Prince : (B-) 23 MIN 9 PTS 4-6 FG 4 REB 1 AST 1 BLK 1 TO, +1
This is the Prince that needs to show up every game. Grizzlies have the luxury of not really needing his offense in order to win, therefore he must only take high percentage or high reward shots. Took most of his shots close to the rim and posted up Matthews for an AND-ONE when Batum switched to Conley on defense. Must recognise his role in the team in order to add value and he has done so today. Being average but efficient is all that the Grizzlies need.
Marc Gasol : (A-) 38 MIN 19 PTS 8-14 FG 9 REB 7 AST 1 BLK 1 TO, +4
Aside from some early struggles keeping Lopez off the offensive boards, he stuffed the statsheet once again in the most impressive fashion. Big Spain did whatever he wanted down at the low block, facilitating on the high post, and catching defenders off guard with hard drives to the basket. He has upped his game in a big way to become the biggest contributing factor of the Grizzlies recent hot streak (our improved bench comes a close second). Are there any 5s in the NBA that isn't a mismatch for Marc when he's playing like this? Let the league be warned.
Courtney Lee : (B+) 25 MIN 16 PTS 7-12 FG 1 REB 1 STL, -1
Was almost invisible in the 1st half but came back in a big way during the 3rd quarter by taking massive advantage of Lillard matching up against him. By the time the Blazers put Matthews back on him, it was already too late as CLee was in too much of a groove. His shot kept the Blazers in arms length in the 2nd half and they never threatened thereafter.
Mike Conley : (B+) 29 MIN 17 PTS 7-14 FG 2-3 3P 4 REB 4 AST 2 STL, +4
Got himself going close to the basket which opened up his outside game. Definitely getting his offensive rhythm back with the help of poor defense from the Blazers. Was able to get some extended rest during the 4th quarter which could proof to be crucial at the Pelicans tomorrow. His finishing at the rim is still a bit of an issue, which is what he needs to work on in order to go from "underrated" to "elite".
Tony Allen : (B+) 23 MIN 7 PTS 3-3 FG 3 REB 2 AST 1 STL, +11
Had his typical impact off the bench. His gun-flexing is an indicator of him totally enjoying each minute of the Grizzlies strong recent play. Only lowlight of his night was his two 3-point fouls and delay of game that prevented the Grizzlies from running away with the game completely.
Nick Calathes : (A) 19 MIN 7 PTS 3-4 FG 2 REB 9 AST 1 STL, +6
Had his most dynamic game of the season on the offensive end. Distributing freely and looked completely balanced the entire game. Did not rush on his jumpshot and only had one poor possession all night. His knack for preventing more athletic guards from getting into the paint has been a pleasant surprise all season.
Mike Miller : (A-) 25 MIN 14 PTS 6-10 FG 1-2 3P 2 REB 1 STL 2 TO, +9
The only downside Miller's recent stellar play is that he is reason behind James Johnson's lack of court time. Coach Joerger is doing the right thing by sticking to this incredibly hot bench during this this stretch. His impact off the bench is now a cornerstone of the Grizzlies and this game was no exception.
Kosta Koufos : (C+) 20 MINS 2 PTS 1-2 FG 4 REB 3 TO, +6
Showed his typical hustle but was a tad overzealous which resulted in two walks and an offensive foul. Played some extended minutes along with Gasol but the combination did not have massive impact this game.
Jon Leuer : (N/A) 1 MIN
Was slightly perplexed to see Leuer falling out of the rotation this game as the starting front court logged heavy minutes with another game tomorrow night, expect Jonny Badger to see some meaningful court time against the Pelicans tomorrow.
Portland Trail Blazers : (C-)
Credit the Blazers for staying within touching distance the entire game when it looked like the Grizzlies would push their lead to insurmountable levels on multiple occasions. I truly believe that this team has heavily overachieved at the beginning of the season and are slumping to a point that the Grizzlies can overtake them in the standings. Their reliance on jump shots, a thin bench and non-existent defense is really catching up to them. Having just won the tie-breaker will help the Grizzlies immensely.