LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points and 14 rebounds, but the Portland Trail Blazers found themselves trailing early and never got back into the game, losing Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals to the Memphis Grizzlies, 100-86 Sunday night at the FedEx Forum.
The lack of momentum entering the playoffs showed in the first quarter, with Portland hitting just 4 of their first 20 shots. Aldridge shot just 3-of-11, the rest of the starters were just 2-of-8, yet strong defense on Mike Conley and Zach Randolph kept the game close. Then Beno Udrih came in for Memphis and scored eight straight points, aided by two Blazer turnovers, and gave Portland's opponent their customary double-digit lead. The Blazers would trail by ten after one. Aldridge led the scoring for Portland with eight.
The bad feelings continued into the second quarter, with Memphis expanding their lead to 18 via the bench. Chris Kaman attempted to counter for the Blazers, scoring seven in the period to get Portland within nine. Memphis powered right back on the back of Conley, Marc Gasol and Courtney Lee, re-expanding the lead to 21. Aldridge led the scoring with ten, but Portland trailed by 19 at halftime.
Memphis poured it on in the third quarter, building their lead to 29 on the back of Randolph. Aldridge had 11 in the period, but the rest of the team shot 5-of-16. Portland would trailed by 24 after three.
Damian Lillard tried to rally the team in the fourth, but the deficit was simply too large.
Nicolas Batum had 15 points and 7 rebounds. Meyers Leonard had 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks to lead the bench. The Portland starting guards combined to shoot 6-of-29. Game Two will be Wednesday night in Memphis.
#Blazers have won three playoff series after losing Game 1. Most fans, of course, know that one was '77 Finals.— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) April 20, 2015
The other two were 1985 vs. Dallas and '99 vs. Utah.— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) April 20, 2015
LaMarcus Aldridge finishes with 32 Pts & 14 Reb in the loss. Blazers have lost 27 of 30 series when losing Game 1. pic.twitter.com/bkwgtAY2A3— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 20, 2015
Point guards: Portland 14 points on 5-25 shooting, Memphis 36 points on 15-25 shooting.— Chris Herrington (@HerringtonNBA) April 20, 2015
Dave Joerger: "We know that whatever we win by today, if they win by 1 Wed., they go home with a split & that’s all they're looking for."— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) April 20, 2015
Nicolas Batum, noting only good thing in #Blazers' loss to Grizz: "Nothing can be worse than that. That’s the only positive thing tonight."— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) April 20, 2015
'@Dame_Lillard, summing up Game 1: "(Grizzlies) started to make shots and we never got it going. You don't score points, you don't win."— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) April 20, 2015
Tonight's Blazers starters had a 73.4 Offensive Rating in 16 minutes together. Shot 10-34 and 1-9 on 3s.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) April 20, 2015
"No matter how you lose the first game, you’ve got to come back and play well the second game. That’s why it’s a series." - Stotts— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 20, 2015
Portland's @nicolas88batum on Blazers' mindset after Game 1 loss to Memphis: "We're mad because what we showed is not us."— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) April 20, 2015