With just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Nicolas Batum hit his fifth three-pointer of the night, cutting the Memphis lead to just three points. The Grizzlies would answer, as they have done all series long, and Memphis had all but wrapped up the win a few possessions later. Portland now trails the series 3-0 following the 115-109 loss at Moda Center on Saturday night.
With the Portland home crowd in full swing at tipoff, an optimistic fan would assume that the Trail Blazers would be able to get off to a solid start. That was not the case. As the quarter passed the six minute mark, the home team had just seven points. It looked as if we may have a blowout on our hands early on, but the Blazers managed to finish the quarter strong. CJ McCollum and Nicolas Batum hit back-to-back threes in the final minute, which would cut the Memphis lead to just five heading into the second. Trailing by five after the opening quarter isn’t necessarily good, but it’s certainly acceptable when you account for shooting percentages – Memphis shot 52 percent in the quarter, while the Blazers shot an abysmal 29 percent.
The second quarter got off to a bit of a unique start. Memphis was called for five fouls in the first two minutes of the quarter, which meant that Portland would be shooting free throws on every foul for the rest of the period. This was huge, and the Trail Blazers would score 30 points in the quarter. The only problem? Memphis managed to score a series-high 38 points in the period. The Grizzlies finished the half on a 10-3 run, extending their lead to 62-49 at the break.
The Blazers were full of energy and looked very good early on in the second. They quickly cut the Memphis lead to single digits, but unsurprisingly, Memphis immediately answered and then added to their lead. Portland outscored the Grizzlies in the quarter, but still trailed by double-digits heading into the final period.
Portland made multiple runs early on in the fourth, but Memphis continued to answer. With the way things were going, it wouldn’t have been surprising if the Grizzlies came away with yet another double-digit win. Instead, the Blazers that never give up made an appearance, at least for a few minutes. A complete comeback looked like a real possibility, but a missed three by Nicolas Batum was the turning point for the home team. The deficit would’ve been cut two just two if the shot went down, but instead, Memphis went on to score the next four points, taking a nine point lead. The Trail Blazers extended the game by fouling on every possession for the final minute and a half, but the Grizzlies took care of business at the line.
Nicolas Batum led the way for the Trail Blazers, finishing with 27 points, six rebounds, and four assists on 9-of-18 shooting. Damian Lillard added 22 points, while CJ McCollum came off the bench to add 26. LaMarcus Aldridge had an off shooting night, finishing with 21 points, but taking 18 shots to get there.
The Trail Blazers are now down 3-0 in the series, and have a seemingly unsurmountable obstacle in front of them. But hey, never say die. Right? Game 4 is scheduled for 7:30 on Monday night in Portland.
- Shooting percentage: Portland 47% — Memphis 47%
- Three point percentage: Portland 41% — Memphis 44%
- Free throws: Portland 26-31 — Memphis 39-43
- Rebounds: Portland 35 — Memphis 38
- Assists: Portland 23 — Memphis 18
- Points in the paint: Portland 30 — Memphis 48
- Fastbreak points: Portland 21 — Memphis 7
- Bench points: Portland 30 (26 from CJ) — Memphis 32