Memphis Grizzlies

Blazers get No. 50 and ahead are "winnable" games vs. Nuggets

Blazers get No. 50 and ahead are "winnable" games vs. Nuggets

The Trail Blazers celebrated their 50th win Wednesday night in Moda Center, sending the outmanned Memphis Grizzlies packing with a 115-89 thrashing that saw the Grizz get just 10 points in the third quarter and 30 in the entire second half.

The Blazers have won eight of their last 10 but the next two games promise to be much more of a test.

Portland meets the Western Conference’s second-place team, the Denver Nuggets, in back-to-back games – Friday on the road and Sunday in Moda Center. The Blazers sit two games behind the Nuggets for the No. 2 spot. How does Damian Lillard see those games?

“Both winnable,” Lillard said. “We can get both of them. Late in the season, nobody’s 100 percent. Everybody’s worn a little bit. But it’s a fight. We’re trying to fight for the position that we want, and that’s homecourt.

“These two games would be huge for us. Both are games that we can win.”

Win them both and…

“Number two,” he said. “It’s great. I think homecourt is homecourt but at that point it turns into a matchup thing. Just want to make sure we get homecourt.”

The 50th win meant a lot to the Blazers.

“I told the team 50 wins has always been a benchmark in this league,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “If you’re a 50-win team, I think that really speaks a lot about what you’ve done in the regular season and the success you’ve had in the regular season. I think we should all be very proud of what we’ve done so far this year. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us but you need to celebrate moments like this.”

Lillard agreed.

“Great feeling,” he said. “I think it says something about our toughness and how resilient we are as a group, coming in and having 49 wins last year, falling short in the playoffs and then being able to come back and have a better season this year so far. I think that says a lot about our character.”

And the last few weeks haven’t been easy, with CJ McCollum out with a knee injury and Jusuf Nurkic sidelined by a broken leg.

The Grizzlies, by the way, played without eight of their top nine rotation players Wednesday. Memphis knocked Portland off stride with a zone defense in the first half and the Blazers trailed by 10 on a couple of occasions before rallying back.

Evan Turner’s second straight triple-double off the bench got the most attention (he’s the first NBA player ever to do that in a non-starting role) but Lillard was very solid with 20 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.

Portland won the rebound battle a whopping 54-32 and had 68 points in the paint. Zach Collins had a career-high 18 points on 7-10 shooting.

Enes Kanter had his way with the smaller Memphis players around the basket and came away with 21 points and 15 rebounds in just 25:38.

It turned into a pretty easy night for the Trail Blazers. But Friday night in Denver, at altitude, in a game not scheduled to start until 8:30 local time against a very good team, is likely going to be quite different.

“It will be competitive,” Stotts promised.

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Memphis Grizzlies

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Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Memphis Grizzlies

It was quite a matchup at Moda Center on Wednesday night with it being the final week of the season for the Grizzlies and then on the other end of the spectrum, the Trail Blazers are still concerned with positioning for top seeding in the West.

Memphis entered Wednesday’s game without a whopping eight rotation players.

With those two factors, you would assume Memphis would have no business being in this game, but the young Grind City team kept it close, at least for the first half.

The short-handed Grizzlies squad threw a zone defense at the Trail Blazers and it took Portland nearly two quarters to figure out how to attack it. But once they did, the Blazers cruised to a 116-89 win.

The Blazers have now earned 50 wins for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

FINAL BOX SCORE: Trail Blazers 116, Grizzlies 89

Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers sixth straight home win:

1.Grizzlies zone defense disrupts Blazers’ offense  

Memphis started the game with a matchup zone and for NBA fans watching a game with zone defense it is always a little odd. The Grizzlies have played a lot of zone this season, so it’s not new for Memphis. However, it did throw the Blazers off a little.

It wasn’t until the final minutes of the second quarter that it looked like Portland had cracked the code. Damian Lillard led the charge by attacking the zone by either getting all the way to the basket or getting to the rim and then kicking out to the corner to find his teammates wide open.  

The Blazers also had some unusual turnovers when facing the zone. Portland had eight turnovers as a team at the break.

2. Lillard triple-double watch, ET with another one

After Monday’s win over the Timberwolves, Evan Turner said he had done something Lillard has never done and that was notch a triple-double. Lillard jokingly responded to that comment with, “I might have to go chase me one now.” At halftime, Lillard was well on his way with 14 points, seven assists, and four rebounds.

But since the game turned into a blowout victory for Portland, Lillard did not play the entire fourth quarter. He finished the game with 20 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.

Even though Lillard did not record a triple-double, he did reach the 2,000 point mark for the season. Lillard hit the milestone early in the second quarter when he scored his 17 point of the game.

To put this in perspective, these are MVP like numbers that the Trail Blazers All-Star point guard has put up this season --

Lillard is the first player in franchise history to score 2,000 points and dish out 500 assists in a season. He is also just the second player this season to have accomplished such a feat. James Harden has also reached this milestone.

Also, Evan Turner made history as well: 

3. Kanter leads the way in the third

Portland decided to play through Enes Kanter a lot more in the third quarter and it was effective. The Blazers outscored the Grizzlies 24-10 in the quarter, while Kanter had eight of his 21 points in the quarter and an impressive 11 rebounds. 

The Trail Blazers center continues to show up big on the glass and on offense while the Blazers adjust to life without Jusuf Nurkic.  

Portland was able to run away with the game in the third, which meant the Trail Blazers starters got some much-needed rest.

NEXT UP: The Trail Blazers visit the Denver Nuggets on Friday night with a 7:30pm PT start time. Our pregame coverage tips off at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Northwest.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies: How and Where to Watch

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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies: How and Where to Watch

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.
 

GAME DETAILS

Where to Watch: NBC Sports Northwest

Where to Watch on the go: Stream the game live on the new MyTeams App

Tip-Off Time: 7:00 p.m. 

Point spread: Portland -10.5

NBCS NW Coverage: Blazers Outsiders Pregame Show (6:00 p.m.), Blazers Outsiders Postgame Show (immediately after the game). 

Radio: 620AM Rip City Radio

 

INJURY UPDATES

For Portland, Jusuf Nurkic (left leg) and CJ McCollum (left knee) are out for Wednesday’s game vs. Memphis.

For the Grizzlies, Kyle Anderson (right shoulder), Avery Bradley (right shin), Dillon Brooks (right toe), Jaren Jackson Jr. (right thigh), CJ Miles (left foot) and Jonas Valanciunas (right ankle) are out. Mike Conley (left ankle) is doubtful and Joakim Noah (right knee) is questionable.
 

QUICK LINKS

Dwight Jaynes: Evan Turner after triple-double: "I'm straight-up tired"

Jamie Hudson: New to the starting lineup? Rodney Hood was ready for the change

VIDEO: Highlights: Triple Double Warning!

VIDEO: Trail Blazers getting contributions from everywhere

VIDEO: Changing it up: Hood shines in the starting lineup


Download the brand new MyTeams app today - This is the app for everything Blazers: games, highlights, articles, podcasts and more from your NBC Sports Northwest Blazers team.

Turnovers, Mike Conley doom Trail Blazers to painful loss

Turnovers, Mike Conley doom Trail Blazers to painful loss

MEMPHIS – It was a case of too many turnovers and too much Mike Conley Tuesday night for the Trail Blazers.

And maybe just one too many games on a road trip that lasted two full weeks.

Conley made 12 of 18 shots, including six of seven from three-point distance, on the way to a career-high 40 points, to almost single-handedly defeat the Trail Blazers, 120-11.

And that after Portland raced to a 16-point lead in the first quarter and seemed prepared to finish off a seven-game road trip with a 6-1 record.

But that didn’t happen.

The Blazers had 20 turnovers, which the Grizzlies turned into 20 points, and the game that seemed the most winnable of them all on this trip turned into a painful loss.

“We didn’t defend very well,” said CJ McCollum, whose 27 points lead the Trail Blazers. “Second quarter we gave up 41 points, A lot of the same in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter – a lot of fouls and they got a lot of easy baskets.

“We’ve got to do a better job of keeping them off the free-throw line and out of the bonus.”

The Blazers shot 53.2 percent from the floor and they usually win when they shoot well. But there was a big disparity at the foul line and, in fact, Portland didn’t get a free throw in the third quarter and only seven in the fourth.

For the game, the Grizzlies shot 15 more foul shots than the Trail Blazers.

“We started the game off well and we kind of let up,” Damian Lillard said. “We gave them life.  We put ourselves in a bad position.

“I guess the aggressor gets the benefit of the doubt. We just barely touched them sometimes and they shot 15 more free throws than us. Then they started making shots.

“When a team is making shots and you can’t touch them, then you’re really in trouble.

“The only way you shoot that well and lose is when you don’t get stops. Obviously, they shot the ball well and we didn’t do enough about that.

 “Obviously, our plan was to go home 6-1 (on the trip). That would have been great for us to get six wins out of this trip. A long trip and a lot of tough games. I think we can say it was a good trip. A great trip would have been 6-1. This one was tough.”

Lillard was asked about the frequent refrain from Trail Blazer fans on social media – that it’s just like that team to post some good wins, then turn around and lose a game it was expected to win.

The term people are using is “Blazer-y.”

“That’s easy for somebody who doesn’t have to go out there and play to say,” Lillard said. “First of all, we’ve been out on the road for about three weeks (counting the all-star break), traveling city to city and playing tough teams, and then we came here to play an NBA team. We didn’t come here to play the Washington Generals. They’ve got good players. I think that’s more disrespectful to them than anything.

“(Fans) don’t understand it. They don’t have to do what we do. I don’t expect anything else – for somebody to say, ‘Oh, we lost. We crashed.’ I don’t think we crashed. We lost. They played well.”

And the trip ended on a sad note for the team and the quiet locker room told that story better than anything that was said.

Yet, Portland returns home with a 39-25 record for what could be a pivotal game Thursday night against Oklahoma City --- two teams battling for the No. 3 seed in the conference.

“Obviously, both teams know it’s a big game,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said. “As far as playoff seeding, they already have the tiebreaker on us. They’ve beaten us all three times this season.

“It should be a good game.”

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers loss to the Memphis Grizzlies

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers loss to the Memphis Grizzlies

After playing six games over the last two weeks on the road, the Portland Trail Blazers finished up one of their longest trips in franchise history in Memphis on Tuesday.

Portland was going for a franchise record six wins on a long trip, but the Blazers were not able to accomplish that feat with Memphis defeating Portland 120-111.

Early it looked as though the Blazers were going to run away with it. They led by as many as 16 points in the first half, but you have to give credit to Mike Conley and company, who made a game of it. Portland also had a sloppy second half and ended up committing 20 turnovers for the game. Memphis scored 20 points off of those turnovers.

Final Box Score: Trail Blazers 120, Grizzlies 111 

Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers loss:

Portland's impressive ball movement early

It was a rare up-tempo game vs. Memphis in the first half, which favored the Trail Blazers.

Early on, Portland found mismatches, especially down low, and they were able to exploit the Grizzlies. Whether it was finding Maurice Harkless with Mike Conley guarding him or Joakim Noah on Enes Kanter, the Blazers were able to finish around the rim with relative ease. Portland started the game with eight field goals on eight assists; 17 of their 23 field goals in the first half were assisted. 

McCollum continues to play well in Memphis

It’s no secret that CJ McCollum enjoys playing at FedEx Forum and against the Memphis Grizzlies. In his last game in Memphis back on December 12th, McCollum scored 40 points to go along with five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. The Trail Blazers shooting guard has averaged 20.5 points in 17 career games against the Grizzlies.

McCollum led the way offensively for Portland with 27 points. 

Grizzlies bench and Mike Conley kept them in it

After three quarters, Memphis’ bench outscored the Blazers’ second unit, 37-19. But really it was Delon Wright who was having himself a game. Entering the final quarter, Wright had 23 points. This season he is averaging 7.2 points per game.

Lillard and the Blazers have talked about recently how they have their eyes set on the second seed in the Western Conference standings. In order to reach that goal, the Blazers’ second unit will have to be able to step up its defensive effort and not let someone like Wright go off like he did on Tuesday.

You can never count the Grizzlies out with Conley on the court. In the last two minutes of the game, Conley scored a quick six points of his 40 points on the night.

Memphis’ first lead of the game came in the final minutes of the fourth. You can probably chalk up this loss for the Blazers to seven games in 13 days on the road.

NEXT UP:  The Blazers will finally be back at Moda Center on Thursday night when Portland hosts the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7:30pm. The Blazers haven’t played at home since February 13th when Portland beat Golden State 129-107. Our pregame coverage on Thursday starts at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Northwest.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.

Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for Memphis Grizzlies

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Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for Memphis Grizzlies

Today marks the finale of the Portland Trail Blazers’ season-long seven game road trip with the Blazers visiting the Grizzlies today. Portland is coming off a 118-108 win over the Hornets on Sunday improving to 5-1 on the trip. Memphis gave Oklahoma City a scare on Sunday. The Thunder ended up defeated the Grizzlies though, 99-95.

Today’s game is the third of four meetings between the Blazers and Grizzlies this season. They split the first two.

Before tonight’s game Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and Grizzlies head coach JB Bickerstaff gave updates to the media.

Grizzlies Injury Updates: Memphis listed Kyle Anderson (right shoulder), Dillon Brooks (right toe), and Jaren Jackson Jr. (right thigh) as out against the Blazers.

Anderson will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

While, Ivan Rabb (right ankle) was initially listed as questionable and Avery Bradley (right wrist) was listed as probable. Both Rabb and Bradley will be available tonight, according to Coach Bickerstaff.

Coach Bickerstaff also discussed how interaction between the players has changed over the years specifically with today’s technology and how young players and people in society are “staring at their phones.”

Hear from Coach Bickerstaff right here:

Blazers Injury Updates: Portland had no injuries to report for today’s game in Memphis, which means Evan Turner will likely return to the lineup after missing the last five games with left knee soreness.

Coach Stotts says he has been pleased with the consistent focus of his team during this season-long road trip.

“The fact that we haven’t had a let down in this pervious six games, we’ve brought it every night, even though we got off to good starts against Cleveland and Charlotte both those teams made a comeback, but we were able to finish them off in the second half… For the most part, we’ve been really solid, very focused for all these six games,” Stotts said.  

Hear from Coach Stotts right here:

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies: How and Where to Watch

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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies: How and Where to Watch

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.


GAME DETAILS

Where to Watch: NBC Sports Northwest

Where to Watch on the go: Stream the game live on the new MyTeams App

Tip-Off Time: 5:00 p.m. 

Point spread: Portland -5

NBCS NW Coverage: Blazers Outsiders Pregame Show (4:00 p.m.), Blazers Outsiders Postgame Show (immediately after the game). 

Radio: 620AM Rip City Radio
 

INJURY UPDATES

Portland has no injuries to report for Tuesday’s game at Memphis.

For the Grizzlies, Kyle Anderson (right shoulder), Dillon Brooks (right toe), and Jaren Jackson Jr. (right thigh) are out. Ivan Rabb (right ankle) is questionable and Avery Bradley (right wrist) is probable.
 

QUICK LINKS

Dwight Jaynes: Rodney Hood steps up as Trail Blazers' Hero-For-A-Day in Charlotte

Jamie Hudson: Jusuf Nurkic's double-double exemplifies Trail Blazers' team-first, multi-threat approach

VIDEO: Nurk's redemption: Jusuf bounces back with beastly game

VIDEO: Hood bounces back in a big way

VIDEO: Damian Lillard on the state of the new-look Trail Blazers


Download the brand new MyTeams app today - This is the app for everything Blazers: games, highlights, articles, podcasts and more from your NBC Sports Northwest Blazers team.

"Mr. Clutch" Dillon Brooks needs to become "Mr. Resilient"

"Mr. Clutch" Dillon Brooks needs to become "Mr. Resilient"

More injury news for former Oregon basketball star Dillon Brooks... Nicknamed “Mr. Clutch” as a Duck, Brooks may need to become Mr. Resilient.

In just his second year in the league, the Memphis Grizzlies wing will likely miss the remainder of the 2018-2019 season due to a toe injury and surgery to repair it, according to a report from Shams Charania of the Athletic and Stadium.

While Memphis will miss the offensive jolt Brooks brings to the team, it is especially disappointing for Brooks, who just recently returned from a sprained MCL that cost him 21 games this season. Brooks scored in double figures in three of the seven games he played in since he got back in the rotation before injuring his toe late in Saturday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

This unfortunate news must be frustrating for the playmaker that was looking to build on his strong rookie campaign. In 2017-18, he played all 82 games and posted 11.0 points and 3.1 rebounds per night.

The silver lining? Brooks is expected to recover in time for summer workouts, leading into his third year in the NBA.

Brooks was the 2016-17 Pac-12 Player of the Year and a consensus All-American. He is one of Oregon’s five alums playing in the NBA; Jordan Bell (Golden State), Chris Boucher (two-way contract, Toronto), Tyler Dorsey (Atlanta), Troy Brown Jr. (Washington). Also, Elijah Brown is in his first season with the G League’s Grand Rapids Drive.

Hang on tight: Trail Blazers take their chances with aggressive three-ball mindset

Hang on tight: Trail Blazers take their chances with aggressive three-ball mindset

It was a true Rip City vs. Grind City type of night on Wednesday at Moda Center.

Memphis imposed its defensive will on Portland in the first half, but the Trail Blazers were ignited by their three-point shot in the third and it was their 27-19 quarter that helped the Blazers beat the Grizzlies 99-92.

It was a slugfest in the first and it looked liked Memphis was on its way to a win. The Blazers committed eight turnovers in the quarter and also went 1-of-7 from deep, but yet, Portland was able to overcome the poor three-point shooting.

And, no surprise... Damian Lillard led the three-ball prowess in the third.

As a team, Portland went 6-for-10 from three in the third quarter, while Lillard himself was 4-for-5 from deep. Fifteen of Lillard’s 24 points came in that third quarter.

“First half, I’m just letting the game happen… If I come out and I’m getting open looks, then I’ll be more aggressive in the first half, but most of the time I’m just setting guys up, managing the game, seeing what’s going on and taking what comes to me and then in that third quarter, you know, that’s usually when you can tell what direction the game is going in and if the game is decided in the second half,” Lillard said.

“I usually try to get more aggressive and impose my will more than in the first half,” Lillard added.

It was not just a night where Lillard was hitting from behind-the-arc. The second unit was also splashing in the threes. Meyers Leonard and Seth Curry both hit threes in the third. Eighteen of the Blazers’ 27 points in the third came from long distance.

What everyone learned on Wednesday is this is a Trail Blazers team that can overcome a 14.3% three-point shooting first quarter.

With this team, it is all about having that mentality of ‘shooters gonna shoot’ because they believe in themselves and each other.

“Anytime one of those guys, CJ or Dame throw up three, we all think it’s going in, we’re surprised if it doesn’t… When they get hot there’s not a lot of people in the league that can stop them,” Collins said.

 “The goal in today’s NBA in general, but for our team really, is threes and rim, those are the two most efficient shots in the league, particularly drive and kick for three and then as soon as they start to get closer to our shooters, that’s when Dame, CJ, the rest of the guys, myself can start to finish around the rim… Our mentality is to keep getting them up because we can all shoot the ball really well and when we move the ball and we get good looks we’re gonna take our chances on that,” Leonard said.

Portland finished the game going 11-of-26 from three.  

There are always several variables that go into good shot selection, but setting good screens for each other is a big one.

“When Nurk, Chief, any of our bigs, guards even, set good screens, get guys open looks, especially Dame, when he’s sees one go in, it’s like, ‘better hang on tight.' He did the same thing in LA,” Leonard said.

And then, there’s a shot that looks improbable, but it’s not for Lillard.

With 7:51 to go in the third quarter, Lillard splashed one in even with former NBA All-Defensive Second Team point guard Mike Conley right up in his face. 

With Lillard having another big scoring third quarter and Portland’s second unit bouncing back from a tough scoring night in LA on Monday, Leonard acknowledged that the bench can and should take the momentum created by the starters and continue to ride that when they step on the floor. 

“Obviously when Dame gets it going like that and our starters have a good stretch it makes it that much easier on the bench to come in and continue kind of that flow with the game,” Leonard said.

There’s no doubt that Portland’s flow of the game is strong in the third quarter as of late. In the last two games, the Blazers have outscored their opponents 69-47 with Lillard scoring 37 of those points. With his impressive third quarter tonight, Lillard now moves ahead of James Harden into the No. 1 spot in second half scoring average for the entire league at 15.5 points per second half. 

That third quarter flow has also helped Portland to get its third straight win and its fourth straight home victory.

That’s a nice flow that the Blazers will look to continue. 

Damian Lillard in Beast Mode on milestone night

Damian Lillard in Beast Mode on milestone night

Damian Lillard celebrated a milestone and the Trail Blazer bench won its battle by a mile Wednesday night. And the Blazers used a big second half to  recover from a slow start and defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 99-92.

MILESTONE NIGHT

The Portland guard put an exclamation mark on his 500th NBA game with 24 points, four assists, five rebounds, two steals and a pair of blocked shots. He made five of his eight-three point shots, too.

And this came after a first half in which he was 2-7 from the field, 0-1 from three for just four points.

But in a way, he’s got the physical conditioning and mental toughness that’s a little like another Oaklander in his prime, NFL running back Marshawn Lynch -- who seems to get better the longer the game goes.

Yes, Lillard can get into Beast Mode on occasion.

He seemed humbled about the 500th game.

“A blessing to have enough help to be out there that many times,” Lillard said. “And also to be able to do it in one uniform. I’m really thankful that from Game One, to Coach Stotts and our entire coaching staff for trusting me and allowing me to accomplish a lot of things I’ve been able to accomplish.

“An honor to be out there in good health for this great organization.”

THE BENCH ARRIVES

The Trail Blazers trailed 15-4 to open the game but closed the lead to 18-17 at the quarter break. The Grizz held a five-point lead at halftime but the Portland bench really kicked into gear in the second half, along with Lillard.

The Blazers’ second unit outscored the Memphis bench 44-14 behind 12 points and eight rebounds from Meyers Leonard, 10 points from Zach Collins, eight apiece from Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas and six from Evan Turner.

“Obviously, the bench played really well tonight,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “It was good to see them play well, play with confidence. They moved the ball well, played with a lot of energy. They were the difference in the game the way they were a few nights ago (vs. Toronto.)”

The second-unit frontcourt of Collins, Leonard and Turner played well enough that it finished the game and kept the starting frontcourt on the bench.

“We played hard and we played together and we’re playing well right now,” Leonard said of his group.

“We’re doing the little things. Offensive rebounds, second-chance points, moving the ball, playing within ourselves and trusting each other.

We’ve done a good job these last few games and we just have to continue to do so.”