Are the grind-and-grit Memphis Grizzlies finally back? On Tuesday night, that defense will be tested by the league’s highest scoring team when they face the Portland Trail Blazers, which also happens to be one of the best teams in the league record-wise.
Memphis has won seven of its last eight outings, and more importantly, they did it with their dreaded “D”— exactly the identity they had a year ago when they surprised a lot of people in the regular season and the playoffs.
The Grizzlies have limited the opposition to just 89.5 points in this stretch, clearly a considerable improvement from what they have given up in the first quarter of the season. Overall, Memphis allows 96.0 PPG—good for third in the entire NBA in opponents’ points per game.
Portland, with a 109.0 PPG—first in the league and a 33-12 win-loss record--- 5th in the league and 3rd in the Western Conference, has struggled lately losing three of their last five games.
The Blazers are obviously itching to get back in the win column once again as West rivals San Antonio (36-10) and Oklahoma City (33-11) have overtaken them in the race for the West’s top spot.
Portland is coming off a disappointing effort at Golden State, leading after the first half but faltering in the second to suffer a 103-88 beating at the hands of the Warriors.
Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge only had 10 points in that game, missing 12 of 14 shots from the field. Damian Lillard had 16 points on 5 of 16 shooting and Wesley Matthews had 21 points to lead the team, which shot 28 of 83 overall or just 33.7 per cent from the floor.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are off a pair of wins in their home-and-away series with the Houston Rockets. Memphis won 88-87 on Friday led by Courtney Lee’s 19 points and Zach Randolph’s 15 points and 8 rebounds; and won again 99-81 on Saturday, this time Randolph had a big double-double of 15 points and 17 rebounds.
Watch the Grizzlies vs. Trail Blazers via NBA League Pass.