When Meyers Leonard and CJ McCollum look like two of the best Trail Blazers on the floor, there is something wrong. That’s certainly not a knock on these two young, promising players, but rather a call for Portland’s all-stars to take on more of the load. With that being said, it will be very interesting to follow CJ and Meyers’ development next season. While the tremendous play of McCollum kept the Trail Blazers close, it just wasn’t enough, and that’s okay. Ultimately, injuries cost Portland their chances of moving on, and Memphis took the game, and the series, 99-93.
As has been the case for nearly every game in this series, the Trail Blazers got off to a horrendous start. Portland started off 0-for-6 from the field, digging themselves a 13-1 hole early on. Halfway through the quarter, the Blazers had just six points. But then, CJ McCollum and Meyers Leonard checked into the game, and absolutely everything changed. The Portland offense was flowing, and it would end the first quarter on a 19-7 run. Despite the Blazers trailing by 12 points early on, Portland and Memphis were tied at 20 after one period of play.
With the Trail Blazers carrying all of the momentum into the second, it was their time to establish a comfortable lead for the first time in this series. Memphis continued to miss open looks, but Portland couldn’t take advantage. The Trail Blazers went through a cold spell of their own, but the real killer was rebounding. The Grizzlies grabbed eight offensive boards in the second quarter alone, and 10 in the first half. Portland had multiple solid defensive possessions, but it seemed as if Memphis found a way to get to the ball off of each miss. The Blazers did a poor job of closing out the half, and trailed by seven heading into the break.
The third quarter was the CJ McCollum show. The Trail Blazers allowed the Grizz to extend their lead to 13 almost immediately in the third, and Terry Stotts countered by sending CJ and Meyers back to the table. From that point to the end of the quarter, Portland outscored Memphis 22-6. CJ scored 17 in the third quarter alone, and tied his career high of 27 points. Without the stellar play of CJ McCollum, the Trail Blazers wouldn’t have come close in this game, and that’s a fact. But again, much like the first quarter, Portland trailed by just two after three quarters despite trailing by 13 earlier in the period.
With a two-point deficit heading into the final quarter, Portland’s season was on the line. It was all-or-nothing time. The teams traded baskets early on in the quarter, but at the nine minute mark of the quarter, Robin Lopez hit a pair of free throws to tie it up at 72. Unfortunately, that would be the last time that Portland would hold a share of the lead. The Trail Blazers got plenty off good looks at the hoop, but they just went cold at the wrong time. Memphis rattled off ten straight points after those free throws, all but sealing the series for the Grizz. Portland fouled up until the final 20 seconds, but Memphis ultimately walked off with the game, and the series.
- Shooting percentage: Portland 40% — Memphis 42%
- Three point percentage: Portland 39% — Memphis 7%
- Free throws: Portland 14-19 — Memphis 24-30
- Rebounds: Portland 38 — Memphis 56
- Assists: Portland 13 — Memphis 17
- Points in the paint: Portland 30 — Memphis 44
- Fastbreak points: Portland 7 — Memphis 4
- Bench points: Portland 47 — Memphis 23
- CJ McCollum set a new career high in points with 33.
- CJ McCollum led all players in the series in Games 3-5, averaging 25.7 points per game.
- Meyers Leonard set a new franchise record for three-point percentage in a playoff series. (76.9 %)
- CJ McCollum became the first Trail Blazers to make seven three-pointers in a playoff game.
- CJ McCollum’s 33 points off the bench is a new team record.
- Basically, Meyers and CJ played well.