No Jonas Valanciunas. No Mike Conley. No Joakim Noah.
Much like the last couple weeks, the Grizzlies went into Wednesday night a bit short-handed. The Portland Trail Blazers were staring down a similar situation with CJ McCollum out along with Jusuf Nurkic who suffered a gruesome leg injury a little over a week ago.
It just wasn’t meant to be.
Tyler Dorsey found himself in early foul trouble earning him a seat on the bench and forcing Chandler Parsons into the game after about 2:30 of action. Chandler quickly got involved in the offense hitting three of his first six shots, and the Grizzlies overall started out five-for-five from three before missing a couple from long range to close out the first.
Defensively, Memphis early on stymied Portland a bit using a 2-3 zone to compensate for their lack of size. It paid off in the first as Memphis forced Portland into six first quarter turnovers.
It kept rolling into the second with Memphis forcing a shot clock violation on Portland’s first possession and a bad pass from Seth Curry on the next, en route to a quick 6-0 run giving Memphis a 38-28 lead. After a Justin Holiday layup to make it 50-40 with 5:16 left in the half, Portland took advantage of their size mismatch and utilized a 22-9 run to go into the half up 62-59.
From there things just got out of hand. Portland would outscore Memphis 24-10 in the third to go up 86-69. The size mismatch again was the Grizzlies’ ultimate undoing. For the game, Portland dominated the glass 54-32 with a 14-4 edge in offensive boards. Portland also held a 68-34 advantage in points in the paint. The Portland bigs just outright took it to the Grizzlies all night long.
With the loss, Memphis drops to 31-47 on the season, the seventh worst record in the NBA. The opportunity to get closer to reaching the organization’s goal of conveying their pick to Boston was right there in front of the Grizzlies tonight. Unfortunately, the team’s health (or lack thereof) would prove to be too big of a hill to overcome.
The Grizzlies will get back into it Friday night in Dallas against the Mavericks as the teams play their next two games each against each other, Friday in Dallas and Sunday afternoon in Memphis.