Going into Wednesday night’s game, the Grizzlies bench was a little undermanned. Joakim Noah was out with heel soreness and Omri Casspi was feeling a little under-the-weather. Add in an ailing Kyle Anderson and Mike Conley and the Grizzlies were a bit short heading into Portland. In the end, the Portland bench would play a big role in the outcome of this one, as the Trail Blazer bench outscored the Grizzlies bench, 44-14.
The Grizzlies jumped out to a 13-4 lead through the early minutes. Portland went just 2-of-8 from the floor over the first six minutes of the game. That struggle continued through the first for the Blazers as they failed to hit double digits until just under the three minute mark when Wayne Selden Jr. interfered with an Evan Turner shot for a goaltending call making it 17-10, Grizzlies. Including that basket, Portland went on a 9-1 run to end the quarter with the Grizzlies up 18-17. In the final 6:37 of the first, the Grizzlies made just one shot from the floor, unable to fully capitalize on Portland’s eight first quarter turnovers.
Portland would get their first lead of the game on their first possession of the second quarter, 19-18. From there, the Trail Blazers would use the long ball to build up as much as a six point lead. Ivan Rabb, fresh from Las Vegas where he was supposed to be participating in the G- League Showcase, took over for the Grizzlies in the second. Providing a big spark off the bench, Rabb scored six points and grabbed six boards in 5:00 in the second. The two teams traded the lead back and forth in the period, eventually culminating in a 52-47 Grizzlies lead at the half. Conley closed out the second with three triples in the last two minutes of the period.
Conley led the way for all scorers with 15 in the first half, while Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic both dropped in eight for Portland. Garrett Temple got things rolling in the third with a big chase-down block on CJ McCollum that turned into a transition three for Conley. Mike kept it going, getting a 3-point play to give the Grizzlies an 8-point, 58-50 lead. After misses from deep by Conley and Marc Gasol, Portland did the opposite, with threes from Mo Harkless and Damian Lillard forcing a Grizzlies timeout. The Trail Blazers would keep building on that momentum, taking back the lead, and keeping the Grizzlies in check extending their lead to as many as seven, at 74-67. The Grizzlies would score the next four to make it 74-71 after three quarters.
The Portland bench helped reverse that momentum in the fourth, with Collins, Turner, Nik Stauskas, Seth Curry, and Meyers Leonard all helping the Trail Blazers start out the quarter on an 11-0 run. Jaren Jackson Jr. would finally break the drought with a dunk at 7:37 left in the fourth. Portland would build that lead up to as many as 16, at 91-75. The Grizzlies would chip away at the lead, getting within nine after a Jaren Jackson Jr. three with 4:00 to go. Buckets from McCollum, Lillard , and Turner would be enough as Gasol scored the final five for the Grizzlies to close it to the final seven point deficit.
Damian Lillard had a game-high 24 points, while Mike Conley dropped in 23. Marc Gasol nearly had a double-double with 14 points and 9 rebounds. CJ McCollum, who scored 40 in their meeting on December 12th, was held to only 11.
The Grizzlies are back in action Friday night in Sacramento, taking on the Kings and Dave Joerger at 9pm CST.
- After three, Mike Conley led all scorers with 23, and subsequently didn’t score in the fourth.
- All five Grizzlies starters scored in double figures.
- The Grizzlies and Trail Blazers have played nine straight games, with neither team being able to win back-to-back games.