Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers came out dialed in Wednesday night on the road.
Even though it was the second night of a back-to-back, the Blazers looked energized on both ends against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Portland’s guards caught fire from behind the arc early and thanks to six made threes, the Blazers took a 38-23 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But it was the Blazers’ transition defense and defensive effort that stood out, especially in the first half, as Portland put on a dominant performance in a 127-109 victory over the Grizzlies.
The overall team defense helped the Blazers take a commanding 74-46 lead at halftime.
While it was the Blazers' three starting guards who poured in the scoring in the first half, Portland’s starting center Jusuf Nurkic made his presence felt on both ends in the third.
Nurkic scored 11 points in the third quarter alone.
In one of the Blazers' more complete games of the season, Portland took a 102-83 lead heading into the final period.
The Trail Blazers hot three-point shooting continued from Tuesday night in Indiana.
And unlike the two matchups against the Grizzlies last week, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum had no problems with the Grizzlies' physical defense Wednesday.
Portland shot 54 percent from the field in the first quarter including 6-of-13 from three. Damian Lillard notched 14 points in the first 12 minutes.
Lillard and McCollum then went on to combine for 38 points in the first half. Norman Powell added 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting. McCollum led all scorers for the game with 26.
As Portland carried on the shooting ways that were on full display in the win over the Pacers the night before, the Blazers also continued their high energy on the other end. The Blazers defended better in the paint and in transition – two aspects that were one of their biggest struggles against the Grizzlies last week at home. Portland held Ja Morant to just 10 points as Morant didn't have as much success on the fast break.
Despite Dillon Brooks’ typical pesky defense not disrupting the Blazers guards, Brooks did score in a variety of ways. The former Oregon Duck finished with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
Portland committed three quick turnovers to start the third quarter after having just four total in the first half. Memphis also came out firing following the break. The Grizzlies outscored Portland 37-28 in the third.
Jusuf Nurkic earned the dunk of the night:
Portland forced seven turnovers in the first half.
Next up: The Trail Blazers continue their six-game road trip, in Brooklyn on Friday. The Blazers and Nets are set to tip-off at 5:00p.m. PT on NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers.