The Grizzlies had lost four straight and came into this game looking to get back on track. Just when they thought they had gotten over the injury bug, it struck again with Brandan Wright going down with a groin injury.
The Grizzlies came into the game with a new starting lineup, inclduing Chandler Parsons starting at small forward for the first time this year. The Grizzlies started off strong on offense, quickly getting out to a five point lead, but then the offense came to a halt mid-way through the second quarter. They were getting open looks, passing the ball well, and even shooting the ball in the right spaces - it wasn’t bad offense, the shots just were not falling early on for the Grizzlies.
Even though the offense did not start that strongly, they played good defense and that defense created more offense. Marc Gasol and Chandler Parsons both dropped in threes to give the Grizzlies a nine point lead with just over five minutes left in the first quarter.
The Grizzlies defense slowed as the quarter came to a close, giving up three straight three pointers to Portland to only lead by one at the end of the first.
Deyonta Davis came in to back up Marc Gasol in some of his first minutes of the season. The bench was getting stops but could not contribute anything on the offensive end, with Tyreke Evans scoring every point for the bench unit. Ben Mclemore and Andrew Harrison put the Grizzlies in foul trouble and the Blazers on the line with over eight minutes left in the first half. After that, the Grizzlies offense fell apart and so did the defense, letting Portland pull away with a twelve point lead with six minutes left in the first quarter. It was a twenty one point turn around for the Trail Blazers.
Once the starters for the Grizzlies returned to the game, they were able to start to play better defense and even go on a huge run getting within five points with less than a minute to go before halftime. The Grizzlies just could not get over the hump because of the foul trouble that they put themselves in early in the second quarter, allowing Portland to shoot on every foul committed. The last minute for the Grizzlies was a roller coaster; they committed several fouls, Mario Chalmers was given a technical, and the Grizzlies went into halftime down eleven.
The third quarter started with the Grizzlies desperately trying to come back with some really good defense, but they could not get the deficit within single digits. They did a great job not allowing the Trail Blazers to run away with the game, keeping the lead at ten for over six minutes of the third quarter. The offense started clicking when Tyreke Evans came back into the game, and they cut that double digit lead down to just three. The bench unit for the Grizzlies did a much better job in the second half playing defense, and creating more offense. They were able to keep up with the Trail Blazers’ scoring throughout the third quarter.
The Grizzlies started off the fourth quarter with a three from Marc Gasol for the first lead since the first quarter. They went back and forth with the Trail Blazers for the first five minutes in the quarter, but Portland was consistently getting to the rim. Marc Gasol was very aggressive during the middle of the fourth quarter, which is exactly what they needed. Marc Gasol was doing everything he could for the Grizzlies, but the offense slowed down after he stopped making shots.
The Blazers were up six with just under two minutes left in the game. The Grizzlies got it down to four, but CJ McCollum hit a huge shot with thirty seconds left to put the game out of reach. The Grizzlies have now lost five in a row and are two games below five hundred.