When LaMarcus Aldridge is the only Blazer with more than five points at halftime, and it takes him 18 shots to get there, things aren’t exactly going well for the Trail Blazers. Portland shot just 34 percent en route to a 100-86 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.
Aside from winning the tipoff, absolutely nothing went right for the Trail Blazers in the opening quarter. Memphis quickly jumped out to a 10-2 lead, with Portland starting off shooting just 2-for-11 from the floor. Despite the slow start, the Blazers looked promising on the defensive end – they trailed by just two after six minutes despite shooting just 4-of-15 from the field. In fact, Portland managed to keep things close until the final 1:30 of the period, when Beno Udrih and the Memphis offense scored eight quick points to close the quarter. The Grizzlies led by 10 after one, holding the Portland offense to just 15 points.
With the long break between quarters in the playoffs, it would be reasonable to believe that Memphis’ momentum wouldn’t carry over to the second period. Unfortunately for the Trail Blazers, it did exactly that. The Grizzlies continued their run to start the second, rattling off a quick eight points and extending their lead to 18. But as always, the Blazers fought back, flirting with cutting the deficit to single digits. With about three minutes left in the half, it looked like we would actually have a close contest going into the break. Instead, the Trail Blazers struggled to close the quarter, allowing the Grizzlies to re-establish a comfortable lead. Following the 13-2 Memphis run, Portland trailed 59-38 at the intermission. The Trail Blazers shot just 32 percent in the half, and were a measly 1-for-11 from beyond the arch.
Simply put, the third quarter was more of the same. Memphis continued to grind inside and hit shots, Beno Udrih continued to look unstoppable, and the Trail Blazers continued to miss just about everything. Portland made a few small, but promising runs, but they were nothing more than that. The Grizzlies pushed the lead to as many as 27 in the quarter, and took an 86-62 lead going into the final period.
The fourth quarter was certainly Portland’s best, but it was yet another case of too little, too late. The Blazers outscored the Grizzlies 24-14 in the period, but a large part of the quarter was played with both team’s reserves on the floor. However, it is one small positive to focus on, and perhaps a small confidence boost for the team heading into game two.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the way for Portland, finishing with 32 points and 14 rebounds in 42 minutes of play. Damian Lillard had perhaps the worst playoff performance of his career, going for 14 points on 5-of-21 shooting and missing each of his six three-point attempts.
The Trail Blazers now trail 1-0 in the series, and will play a second game in Memphis on Wednesday night before heading back to Portland for games three and four,
- Shooting percentage: Portland 34% — Memphis 44%
- Three point percentage: Portland 31% — Memphis 31%
- Free throws: Portland 14-19 — Memphis 19-26
- Rebounds: Portland 56 — Memphis 48
- Assists: Portland 18 — Memphis 21
- Points in the paint: Portland 38 — Memphis 52
- Fastbreak points: Portland 6 — Memphis 15
- Bench points: Portland 21 — Memphis 33 (20 from Udrih)