Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Short version: In a closely-contested grind-it-out game, the Portland Trail Blazers upset the Memphis Grizzlies, minus Zach Randolph.
The Blazers starters spread out the stats tonight, with solid nights from all of them. Wesley Matthews led in scoring with 21 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge (15 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks), JJ Hickson (19 points, 11 rebounds), Nicolas Batum (15 points) and Damian Lillard (11 points, 8 assists) each had their moments. For Memphis, Marc Gasol was a monster on defense tonight, blocking 8 Blazer shots.
First Quarter: Slow start for both teams. Portland started shooting 3-11, Memphis 2-10. Gasol found a way to miss an easy layup, and at the other end, the Blazers botched a 4-on-1 opportunity. Memphis popped out of their mini shooting slump, and a buzzer beater by Gasol gave them a 1 point lead.
I don't recognize the first two plays by bayless.... he was calm and under control?
Second Quarter: Something unexpected appeared from the Blazer bench: Energy. Will Barton and Luke Babbitt hit shots, and the Blazers jumped back into the lead early. It didn't last long, as Memphis imposed their will on the game, behind some nice shooting and Gasol blocked shots, forcing a Blazer timeout. Portland came out of the timeout with some more energy, including a stretch with a Blazer turnover, then steal, then alleyoop dunk. They held tough, staying within 3 by halftime.
Marc Gasol needs more all-star votes
Third Quarter: Two straight Matthews three-pointers gave the Blazers another lead. However, soon Memphis took over again, taking a 6 point lead with 6 minutes left. Again, the Blazers wouldn't go away, as the Grizzlies played well at both ends, but somehow gave up key shots. Aldridge completed a three-point play to tie the game late in the quarter, and a Wesley jumper gave them the lead. However, late Memphis free throws tied the game after three.
Wes is single-handedly keeping us in the game.
by Roy Wonder
Nah, he's using both hands.
Fourth Quarter: The Blazers started the fourth by shooting five consecutive three-pointers. This sounds good in theory, but they only made one, and the Grizz were dunking at the other end. Somehow, the Blazers still kept the game tied with 7 minutes left, when more starters returned. Three minutes later, between a few goofy plays from both teams, the game was tied. With three and a half left, Hickson and Batum played a two-man game, leading to a swished three-pointer. The Blazers clung to a one point lead heading into the final two minutes.
On a broken play, Hickson was fouled with 2:01 left and made both free throws, bumping the lead to three. Memphis got four chances to score but missed them all, and at the other end, Batum set up camp near mid-court, then launched a 28-foot three-pointer. Shockingly, it missed. Memphis cut the lead to 1 with two free throws, 53 seconds remaining. Out of a timeout, the Blazers gave the ball to Aldridge, who missed an inside jumper. In turn, Memphis gave it to Rudy Gay, who missed, but the Grizz recovered! The shot clock now off, they go for it, but miss again. With seconds left, Batum grabs the board, and is bodied out of bounds... but has the presence of mind to toss the ball off the leg of Mike Conley with three seconds left.
The Blazers took a timeout, and inbounded at half-court. They tried to get the ball to Lillard, but it went to Aldridge, who was fouled with 2 seconds left. He bricked the first. But swished the second. After a timeout, Memphis got one last shot for the win. They attempted a back-door pass, but the Blazers sniffed it out, forcing Memphis to take their last timeout. Afterward, they inbounded to Rudy Gay, who got a jumper for the tie... and missed! The Blazers hugged on the court as they pulled off a big upset, and headed for the locker room.