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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies Preview

The Blazers road trip continues to Tennessee with the Memphis Grizzlies on deck.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (33-45) vs Memphis Grizzlies (49-29)

The Portland Trail Blazers take on the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis for the second game of a four game road trip. For the Blazers, this game comes after a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves that snapped a five game losing streak. The Blazers sit one game ahead of the Orlando Magic in the race to the bottom, giving them the fifth best lottery odds heading into this game.

The Grizzlies are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They sit second place in the tough Western Conference. They come into this contest after a loss against the Chicago Bulls. The Grizzlies sit two games above the Sacramento Kings, and three games behind the first place Denver Nuggets.

Blazers vs. Grizzles — Tuesday, April 4, 2023 — 5:00 p.m. PT

How to Watch: Root Sports Plus, NBA League Pass

Blazers Injuries: Jerami Grant (out), Damian Lillard (out), Anfernee Simons (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Nassir Little (out), Justise Winslow (out), Keon Johnson (out), Ibou Badji (out), Cam Reddish (questionable), Trendon Watford (probable), Matisse Thybulle (questionable), John Butler Jr. (questionable), Kevin Knox II (questionable)

Grizzlies Injuries: Brandon Clarke (out), Steven Adams (out), Ziaire Williams (out), Dillon Brooks (questionable)

More About The Grizzlies: Grizzly Bear Blues

What To Watch For

Rebounding battle. Both the Blazers and the Grizzlies are missing their top rebounder, with those being Jusuf Nurkic and Steven Adams respectively. However, the Grizzlies are tied for second in rebounds per game, and fourth in offensive rebounds per game. The Blazers fall in the bottom ten in both categories. Of course losing Adams hurts the Grizzlies on the glass, but they still seem well equipped to handle the Blazers. Drew Eubanks will be valuable towards replacing what Nurkic usually provides, but the Grizzlies should not have many problems with Portland on the glass.

Underdog magic. The Blazers pulled off the biggest upset in 30 years after they defeated the Timberwolves while being 19.5-point underdogs. They come into the matchup with the Grizzlies not much better at 18-point underdogs. Can the Blazers catch lightning in a bottle for the second straight game? Or will they normalize and look more like the team that lost 11 of their last 12 before the Timberwolves game. The Grizzlies hope it’s the latter, and those rooting for extra Blazers ping pong balls might hope for the same.

Shaedon Sharpe. The former seventh overall pick has been a revelation for the Blazers as of late. He is averaging 24.7 points per game since being put into the starting lineup after injuries began piling up. His impressive play has caught the eye of the best defenders on most teams the Blazers have faced as of late, and he has had to learn to overcome being the primary defensive focus. His incredible play serves as a sign of great things to come as the Blazers turn their heads towards next season, and Sharpe is making sure he is a big part of whatever comes next for the Blazers.

What Others Are Saying

Brandon Nwokeji of Bluff City Media graded Desmond Bane an A- in the Grizzlies recent loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Desmond Bane was a scoring machine that displayed nearly every weapon in his arsenal. He attacked downhill with ease and frequently blew by defenders to gracefully finish at the rim. Surprisingly, Bane did most of his work this game from the interior; only three of his field goal attempts were three-point shots. His only problems came from keeping the ball secure, as he turned the ball over four times. Bane continues to be a scoring threat at all three levels for the Grizzlies while making stellar leaps as an on-ball creator and facilitator. This was his sixth straight game with 20+ points.

Farbod Esnaashari of All Grizzlies highlighted the incredible defense of Jaren Jackson Jr. this season.

Last night against the LA Clippers, Jackson set a franchise record for most blocks in Grizzlies history with 178 blocks - a fantastic milestone for Jackson.

There are other defensive records that Jackson set with the Grizzlies that fans may not know of as well. He actually has the Grizzlies’ franchise record for most blocks per game, with 2.1 blocks a game. Jackson is also fourth in total blocks in Grizzlies franchise history, with 549 blocks.