Damian Lillard had 32 points and 7 assists, CJ McCollum had 18 points off the bench, and the Portland Trail Blazers staved off elimination for one more game, rallying past the Memphis Grizzlies, 99-92 Monday night at Moda Center. Portland now trails in the best-of-seven series, 3-1.
Memphis came out hot to start the ball game, and the Blazers found themselves trailing by eight halfway through the quarter. However, Portland collectively decided it was not going to out this way, and Meyers Leonard led the charge back. Leonard grabbed three quick rebounds, CJ McCollum and Nicolas Batum hit threes, and Leonard drilled one of his own to lead a 7-0 run to close the quarter. Lillard led the scoring with eight, and the Blazers led by five after one.
Leonard's strong play continued into the second quarter, as he shot 4-of-4 for 10 points and played strong defense on Marc Gasol. Lillard added eight in the period, LaMarcus Aldridge scored six, and Portland extended their lead to as many as nine. The Grizzlies hung around with seven points by Beno Udrih. The home team would take a seven point lead into halftime.
And then... everything fell to pieces as soon as halftime ended. The Blazers missed their first ten shots of the second half, and would not hit a field goal until the 5:17 mark of the period. They committed five turnovers, and Memphis retaliated with a 19-4 run. Aldridge shot 0-for-7 in the period, and Portland trailed by as many as seven. Lillard and McCollum scored four each to lead the scoring, and the Blazers trailed by seven after three.
The poor shooting continued into the fourth quarter, but it luckily spread to both teams. Memphis finally pushed its lead to ten, but the combo of Lillard and McCollum dragged the team back. With the Blazers trailing by two, McCollum ripped the ball away from Gasol and went coast-to-coast to tie the game. The teams would go back and forth, with a four-point play by Lillard giving the Blazers a two point lead. Zach Randolph tied the game, but McCollum drilled a three for a 91-88 lead. After a miss by Randolph, Batum hit one of two free throws. Courtney Lee cut the lead to two, but Lillard hit two free throws to seal the game.
Leonard had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Nicolas Batum had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Aldridge had the worst shooting night of his playoff career, shooting 6-of-22. He finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night
As expected, everyone in tonight's Gameday Thread is thrilled to see the Blazers survive to fight another day. Here were the favorite comment tonight:
Remember guys, our magic number is 8. Any combination of Blazer wins and Grizzly losses totaling 8 means we advance!
by Bib Fortuna
The Trail Blazers closed the game over the Grizzlies with a 29-12 run in the final 8:08. #PORvsMEM— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) April 28, 2015
In the last two games, CJ McCollum has tallied 44 points on 16-for-26 FG (4-6 3-PT) off the bench. #PORvsMEM— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) April 28, 2015
Meyers Leonard and CJ McCollum combined for 31 points on 13-for-18 FG (5-5 3-PT) and 18 rebounds off the bench tonight. #PORvsMEM— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) April 28, 2015
"We're not talking about the series it's about game 5... every game is an elimination game for us" - Stotts refusing to acknowledge momentum— 1080 The FAN (@1080TheFAN) April 28, 2015
"They've got really good players. I think it's crap that people are talking about they don't have enough." - Dave Joerger after game 4.— 1080 The FAN (@1080TheFAN) April 28, 2015
"We have serious problems with CJ McCollum... We have to do a better job on CJ." - Joerger when answering a question about Dame.— 1080 The FAN (@1080TheFAN) April 28, 2015
The Lillard-CJ-Batum-LMA-Leonard lineup that closed the game played 20 minutes together across 8 games in the regular season.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) April 28, 2015
That same group played 20 minutes together tonight: 20-38 and +25.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) April 28, 2015
Marc Gasol on what happened: "I don't know, we stopped competing."— Anne M. Peterson (@AnnieMPeterson) April 28, 2015
"I've got a long ways to go before being considered a Sabonis" -- @MeyersLeonard11— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) April 28, 2015
"Obviously, as a team, we've played more comfortable at home." - Lillard on difference in games 3 and 4.— 1080 The FAN (@1080TheFAN) April 28, 2015
"I just wanted to show my teammates I can play in a big game and help them out." - CJ McCollum on his big game 4.— 1080 The FAN (@1080TheFAN) April 28, 2015
Lillard: "We just wanted to give ourselves a chance to win tonight. Tonight was all that mattered."— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) April 28, 2015
McCollum: "Every time I caught the ball, I just attacked and tried to make a play for myself and others."— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) April 28, 2015
McCollum: "When I was in college, it was my show. I was taking every big shot." That made Lillard chuckle.— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) April 28, 2015
"It's helped us, it's prepared them for this moment." - Dame on CJ and Meyers having to play with all the Blazers injuries.— 1080 The FAN (@1080TheFAN) April 28, 2015
Great win Rip City. Lets Go to Memphis.— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) April 28, 2015
Portland pride on display...great fight to get a win at home for their great fans/support...Conley injury breathes life into Blazers chances— Brent Barry (@Barryathree) April 28, 2015
Meyers Leonard on what it meant to play 35 minutes after getting 5 in Game 3: "It felt good. You always have to stay ready."— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) April 28, 2015
Beno Udrih on Damian Lillard: "I thought he was not rushing as much as he was in previous games."— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) April 28, 2015
Asked Nic Batum if he could think back to rookie Meyers guarding Marc Gasol: "He grew up."— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) April 28, 2015
Fans were amazing tonight! Thanks for the passion and energy! #RipCity— Chris McGowan (@blazerschris) April 28, 2015
More Batum on Lillard: "I know he's been criticized the first three games (of series), but he showed he's a big-time player in this league."— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) April 28, 2015
David Joerger: "We have serious problems with CJ McCollum right now. He is getting to the rim, to the rim, to the rim over and over."— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) April 28, 2015