NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 4th (All times Eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (16-15) at Memphis Grizzlies (20-9), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Memphis Grizzlies return home to FedEx Forum Friday night from a short road trip to host the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Grizzlies split two on the road, losing to the very hot Indiana Pacers on New Year's Eve, then handling the very cool Boston Celtics, 93-83, on Wednesday night.
Against the Celtics, the Grizzlies won despite committing 17 turnovers. They shot 48 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from the 3-point line. Memphis got key offensive contributions from almost everyone, except the two most likely sources.
With Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combining for 11 points and 15 rebounds, five other Grizzlies scored in double figures, led by 23 from Mike Conley and 19 from Rudy Gay. Tony Allen scored 15 against his former team and Marreese Speights and Darrell Arthur both had 10 apiece off the bench.
"It was a very gratifying win cause we got back to playing our brand of basketball was moving from side to side," said head coach Alvin Gentry. "I think we had four 24-second violations from over-passing but I'll take that."
The Grizzlies, who have won 24 of their last 27 home games, are the league's best defensive team and held the Celtics under 85 points.
The Trail Blazers have won eight of their last 10 and recently beat another of the NBA's best home teams in their own building. On Tuesday, Portland topped the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden, 105-100. The next night out, the Blazers lost by 23 in Toronto to the scorching hot Raptors.
Five Blazers scored in double figures, led by Western Conference Rookie of the Month for December, Damian Lillard, but the first-year point guard also committed seven turnovers.
"There is no excuse for us," said Lillard. "They just played better than us. They played harder than us. We put ourselves in a hole to start the game and we weren't able to get out of it. Just one of those nights."
The Raptors scored 28 points off Portland's 18 turnovers, but the Trail Blazers were off with their 3-point shooting. They went 4-for-22 from beyond the arc and only shot 44 percent for the night.
The Blazers complete their road trip on Saturday night in Minnesota against the Timberwolves.
Portland took two of three from Memphis last season, although both wins were at home. The Trail Blazers are 13-4 in their last 17 against the Grizzlies.
01/04 10:43:15 ET