Trail Blazers

Instant Analysis: Grizzlies defeat Blazers in high-scoring affair

Trail Blazers
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The Trail Blazers and Grizzlies got off to a slow start offensively Friday night, surprisingly.

But that didn't last long.

Which isn't surprising considering Memphis has been averaging nearly 122 points in its last handful games.  

The Grizzlies took a 28-23 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Thanks to Memphis' success at the rim, the Grizzlies held a 62-56 halftime lead.

After exchanging baskets in the final period, Memphis got just enough stops as Portland's hurried shots resulted in air balls. The Grizzlies held on for a 130-128 victory. 

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There was a jolt of energy from the Blazers coming out of halftime, just like Portland did on Wednesday night against the Nuggets, they came out of the break dialed in.

However, so were the Grizzlies and more specifically so was Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks. Heading into the final period, Memphis held a 100-99 point lead.

 

Portland was still without Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture). For the Grizzlies, Jonas Valanciunas (concussion protocol) was out. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: Grizzlies 130, Blazers 128 

The Good: 

Jusuf Nurkic was a key piece to the Blazers offense. Whether it was Damian Lillard and Nurkic or Norman Powell and Nurkic, the Blazers starting center provided some necessary offense with so much of the Grizzlies attention on Damian Lillard.

Nurkic took advantage of the smaller defenders and notched a season-high 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting to go along with a season-high 17 rebounds. 

Enes Kanter's second-chance points in the final period helped keep the Blazers in the game midway through the fourth. 

The Bad:  

The Blazers started the game committing two quick turnovers and already had six by the end of the first quarter.  

Despite the Blazers running Damian Lillard off multiple screens, Lillard struggled to get much separation, particularly in the first half. He started the game 0-for-6 from the field. But after knocking down a couple of free throws midway through the second quarter, Lillard got it going offensively in the third quarter.

Ja Morant was scoring at will when he got downhill. He helped boost the Grizzlies points in the paint. Morant finished with 33 points and 13 assists. The Grizzlies finished with a whopping 74 points in the paint. 

Holding Lillard to 23 points through the first three and a half quarters was in big thanks to Dillon Brooks pesky defense. Brooks was stuck on Lillard at all times. The Grizzlies starting small forward then caught fire from three in the third quarter. He finished with 25 points.

 

The Highlight:

The Norman Powell and Jusuf Nurkic connection is growing stronger and stronger:

The Stat: 

The Grizzlies outscored the Blazers in the paint, 74-58. The most the Blazers had given up in the paint this season was 64.

Next up: The Trail Blazers host the Memphis Grizzlies again Sunday in a matinee game. The Blazers and Grizzlies tip-off at 1:00 p.m. PT on NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers.