Another second half rally by the Blazers came close, but just short.
Wesley Matthews had 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting from three, LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points and 8 rebounds, but the Portland Trail Blazers lost their third straight game, falling at the FedExForum in Memphis to the Grizzlies, 102-98.
Memphis kicked off the game positively on fire. They hit nine of their first ten shots, shooting 83% in the quarter. Portland shot just 32 percent, though Matthews scored eight a night after scoring just two, but strong defense towards the end of the quarter kept Portland within seven after one.
The Blazers fared no better in the second, shooting just 33% from the field. Aldridge picked up his third foul, and Zach Randolph made mincemeat of the Portland defense. Damian Lillard, Thomas Robinson and Aldridge led the Blazers in scoring with four. Under the home team's onslaught, Portland trailed by 18 at halftime.
On the positive side, Wesley Matthews hit his 774th career three point shot at the 10:41 mark of the second period, passing Terry Porter for the most threes in Portland Trail Blazers history.
The defense clamped down in the third quarter to try and get Portland back into the game. They held Memphis to just 36% shooting in the quarter. Aldridge had eight in the period, Matthews had six, Steve Blake had five, and the Blazers used a late barrage to cut the lead to eight after three quarters.
Matthews did everything in his power to get the Blazers back into the game, scoring seven quick points and helping Portland get within two. Memphis managed to stay just out of reach, getting the lead back to five on a Courtney Lee three. The teams traded baskets and misses back and forth for the better part of four minutes. Lillard missed an open shot, but stole the ball from Beno Udrih to keep Portland close. After a miss by Marc Gasol, Lillard hit a three to get Portland back within two, 95-93. Udrih hit a long two for a four point lead, and Matthews missed a three as his knee buckled. Zach Randolph hit free throws for a six point Memphis lead. Lillard countered with a long three, but Udrih hit a long two to seal the game, after Portland chose not to foul.
Lillard had 23 points. Blake led the bench scoring with five.
Grizzlies now within a half game of #Blazers for No. 2 spot in West after that game.— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) January 18, 2015
First three game losing streak of the season for the Trail Blazers.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) January 18, 2015
#Blazers got 11 points off bench, which ties season low. Also had 11 vs. Cavs in 4th game of season.— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) January 18, 2015
Lillard took responsibility for gambling on the last Beno basket. Said he could've forced tough shot without going for steal.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) January 18, 2015
Matthews was appreciative of passing Porter but hasn't sunk in yet. "Right now I’m just worried about how do we get off this skid." #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) January 18, 2015
Aldridge on losing to playoff teams in the West: “They’ve shown us that we have some growth to do.” #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) January 18, 2015