In many ways, the Portland Trail Blazers echo the dying gasps of the Memphis Grizzlies during the Grit ‘N’ Grind era; they appear to be a team desperately clinging to whatever relevance they have left. The opposing trajectories of both teams was clearly demonstrated tonight, as the Grizzlies came from behind to win 113-103 on the road in Portland.
The Grizzlies got off to a lethargic start, as they looked like the team that was coming off an overtime loss less than 24 hours before. They trailed by as much as 9, but superb opportunistic defense and careless play by the Blazers allowed them to total 9 steals (!!) in the first quarter. Kyle Anderson, who was fantastic on the night with 13 points and 11 rebounds, had 3 steals and a block alone as the Grizzlies led 24-19 at the end of the quarter
While they were able to extend their lead to as much as 16, quality play from Anfernee Simons and Norman Powell, who had 10 points each in the half, kept the Blazers within striking distance as the Grizzlies took a 55-47 lead into halftime.
The beginning of the second half looked much like a repeat of the beginning of the first one, as the Blazers rode tenacious defense as well as absurd shooting, including a sequence in which Damian Lillard made a three and then Powell made one and was fouled, to lead by as much as 10. However, the Grizzlies went on a 14-0 run to start the 4th quarter behind hot shooting from Desmond Bane, who finished with 23 points and made 4 threes in the final frame alone, and they never looked back.
Despite hot shooting from the Blazers, the Grizzlies again were on a string defensively, ultimately holding the Blazers to just 37% shooting from the field. Dillon Brooks, who totaled 22 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, shut off the water on Damian Lillard, holding him to 21 points on 6-21 shooting, including just 1-10 from inside the arc.
The Grizzlies will play the Kings in Sacramento on Friday at 9.