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Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies Preview

The Blazers need a road win to salvage their short road trip.

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Dallas Mavericks v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers (15-12) at Memphis Grizzlies (15-11)

Wednesday, December 11 - 5:00 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Anfernee Simons (questionable), Moe Harkless (out)
Grizzlies injuries: Mike Conley (questionable), Chandler Parsons (out), Jevon Carter (out), Dillon Brooks (out)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
How to stream: YouTube Live TV, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live TV, FuboTV, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Grizzly Bear Blues

Update: Moe Harkless (rest) is listed as OUT for tonight’s game. Original article is as follows:

The Portland Trail Blazers are looking to bounce back after losing Tuesday night to the struggling Houston Rockets by a score of 111-104. The Blazers have now lost five games in a row on the road. Portland was powered by 34 points from Damian Lillard, 23 from CJ McCollum and 15 from Jusuf Nurkic. Unfortunately for the Blazers, the only other player to get into double digits was Al-Farouq Aminu with 10.

Memphis got off to an impressive 12-5 start to the season, but have gone 3-6 since then. Most recently, the Grizzlies lost 105-99 at Denver. Mike Conley led the way with 19 points. Memphis sits in 6th place in the West, two spots above Portland.

What to watch for

  • The Blazers need at least some production from its bench. Portland got 13 points from its bench on Tuesday night in Houston. Facing Memphis on the second night of a back-to-back, the bench needs to find a way to take some of the load off of the starters. Memphis is decidedly middle of the road in terms of bench production, averaging 36.7 points per game. There is no better time for the Blazers’ bench to put in a solid performance.
  • Portland needs to dominate the boards. The Grizzlies pull down the fewest rebounds in the NBA at 39.5 per game. In contrast, the Blazers are second with 49.3 per game. Advanced statistics tell a similar story. Memphis gets 47% of available rebounds, Portland gets 52.5%. Offensive rebounds are an even bigger factor with Portland getting 30.4% of available boards and Memphis pulling down only 22.7%. A good night on the glass for the Blazers will go a long way towards securing a win.
  • A high scoring game would favor the Blazers. Memphis is a bit of a throwback team, putting up the slowest pace number in the NBA at only 96.44 possessions per game. They also aren’t lighting up the scoreboard, landing fourth-last in the league with 103.3 points per game. In spite of a rough spell of play lately, the Blazers are still averaging 112 points per game. If the Blazers can score around 110 points against Memphis they should be in great position to pull out the victory.

What they’re saying

The Grizzlies have lost six of nine but there are no signs of panic reports Dan Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

Bickerstaff calmly elbowed the panic button out of the way.

“We’re nowhere near panic mode,” he said. ”We’re a good basketball team. There’s no doubt about that. We just have to make the plays when the plays are there to be made.”

bcabraham at Grizzly Bear Blues says that fans need to be patient with J. B. Bickerstaff:

So far this season the Grizzlies have exceeded expectations, jumping out to a 15-11 record and in the middle of the playoff race. Yet I’ve noticed a theme early this season for the Grizzlies. Whenever the team wins the players get all of the credit, whereas J.B. gets the a majority of the blame whenever the team loses. I’m sure J.B. would prefer things stay that way, as any head coach would, but I personally think blaming J.B. for every minor thing isn’t fair to him.

JaMychal Green was thought to be a prime trade candidate. Maybe not according to Christian Dudley of Beale St. Bears:

The team has pulled itself out of a rut as JaMychal Green has noticeably flipped the switch on his productivity. His recent play has been inspirational to the Grizzlies’ bench and it has provided a lot of energy that seemed to be missing in losses to the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, and Toronto Raptors, respectively.

Playing in the reserve role at power forward and occasional backup center minutes, Green has truly been the difference-maker in last week’s victories against the Clippers (home) and New Orleans Pelicans (road).