When the Trail Blazers jumped out to a 10-2 lead early on in the first, it looked like a sign of good things to come. Instead, Memphis took a lead in the second quarter and never looked back. Despite poor shooting nights from Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, the Grizzlies cruised to a 97-82 win on Wednesday night, taking a 2-0 series lead over the Trail Blazers.
Portland played a solid first quarter, especially when you compare it to Sunday’s game. They were making shots out of the gate, but everyone seemed to cool off in the blink of an eye. The Trail Blazers out-rebounded the Grizzlies by a margin of 17-9 while out-shooting them by 12 percent, but still only finished the quarter with a two point lead. LaMarcus Aldridge did it all for the Blazers in the quarter, going for nine points and five rebounds on 4-of-6 shooting.
Beno Udrih and the Grizzlies played a stellar second quarter, using a 16-2 run to take a nine point lead that Portland would never recover from. The Trail Blazers kept it tight for the majority of the game, but they never really threatened Memphis from this point on. The combination of Memphis’s suffocating defense and Portland’s poor shooting led to the Trail Blazers sitting with just six second quarter points at the 4:03 mark of the period. Following a string of Portland baskets, it looked like the game would be close going into the half, but the Blazers allowed Memphis to score five quick, easy points to close out the half. The Grizzlies led by 11 at the break despite being out-shot by the Blazers in the half. A 21-6 advantage in second-chance points more than made up for Memphis’s shooting woes.
The second half was incredibly frustrating to watch. The Trail Blazers made numerous comeback attempts, but even as a fan, it was difficult to see any of them succeeding. Every time that Portland got a crucial stop, Memphis would grab an offensive board and put it in. The Grizzlies seemingly made every important shot, while the Blazers did the exact opposite. The Blazers had cut the deficit to single digits early on in the fourth, but the Grizzlies would counter, and ultimately go home with another double-digit win.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the way for the Trail Blazers yet again, finishing with 24 points and 14 rebounds in 42 minutes of play. Damian Lillard had another disappointing night, scoring 18 points but shooting just 5-of-16 from the field.
It’s easy to get frustrated with the team after these two losses, but you also have to give Memphis credit. They play outstanding defense, and it’s shown so far. The Blazers are down, but not out. The Grizzlies have held serve, and now it’s time for the Trail Blazers to do the same. Arron Afflalo will be back come Saturday, and the team will surely be playing with a sense of urgency. Win these next two at home, and we’re right back in it.
- Shooting percentage: Portland 39% — Memphis 43%
- Three point percentage: Portland 30% — Memphis 50%
- Free throws: Portland 13-14 — Memphis 16-18
- Rebounds: Portland 42 — Memphis 41
- Assists: Portland 11 — Memphis 19
- Points in the paint: Portland 34 — Memphis 44
- Fastbreak points: Portland 7 — Memphis 10
- Bench points: Portland 16 — Memphis 32