Wesley Matthews put his heart and soul into Friday night's game, but it was not enough to beat the team with the best record in the Western Conference.
Wesley Matthews had 26, including seven three-point shots, but the rest of the Blazers shot just 1-of-16 from behind the arc as the Memphis Grizzles snapped Portland's nine game winning streak, 112-99 Friday night at Moda Center.
Portland returned home red hot, with each starter hitting their first shot en route to an early 12-point advantage. Nicolas Batum had six in the period in helping the Blazers with an early 13-2 run. Just as quickly, Memphis rallied behind Courtney Lee and Marc Gasol, returning for a 17-7 run to cut the lead to two after one quarter.
The usual second quarter troubles plagued the Blazers again, with a large part of the struggles coming from bench scoring. Memphis's bench outscored Portland's 23-7 in the period, with Quincy Pondexter scoring eight in the period. Portland rallied briefly, punctuated by a behind-the-back feed from Lillard to Aldridge for a two-handed jam, but Pondexter drilled a three on the Grizzlies next possession, and Memphis took a 52-43 lead into halftime.
Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard tried to get Portland back into the game in the third quarter. Matthews drained three straight three-point shots, and Portland got as close as seven. The issue lay on the other end of the court and Marc Gasol, who was simply unstoppable in the period, scoring 14 on 6-of-8 shooting. Zach Randolph and Mike Conley added six each, and the Blazers trailed by 13 after three.
Portland attempted one final push in the fourth behind good shooting by Matthews and Chris Kaman, closing the gap to as close as four. The defense simply was not able to stop Gasol from getting to the free throw line. Kaman fouled out of the game with four minutes to play, and Memphis held off the Blazers.
LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Damian Lillard had 20 points and 9 assists.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night
Ever since the NBA changed the rule and made it that you had to win your first post-Thanksgiving game or you can't be in the playoffs, I've been dreading this game
This game needs to be a wake up call. We've been coasting the last 4 games.
Memphis played us tough. Portland can play a lot better on both sides of the ball.
We got ate up by dem bears!
by Tyler Durrden
LaMarcus on the loss: "When you lose 1 out of 10, the world isn't crashing." #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) November 29, 2014
Wes Matthews: "It's one game and we just won 9 straight. It's one game, we just can't let this set us back like it's the end of the world"— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) November 29, 2014
Asked if #Blazers take too many 3s at times Wes said no. "That's the way we play ...anybody on this team would take those same shots again."— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) November 29, 2014
Still surreal playing against my brother @rolopez42!! Proud to see him killing in Portland.— Quincy Pondexter (@QuincyPondexter) November 29, 2014
"After the PRP injection in my knee, everything is coming up short." -- Nicolas Batum— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) November 29, 2014
Batum said he still isn't getting much lift on that right leg..still recovering from that right knee contusion..he was 3/11, 6 pts #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) November 29, 2014