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.
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.