Grizzled Again, Memphis Takes Game 2
*Photo via ADP
(4) Portland Trailblazers @ (5) Memphis Grizzlies (MEM leads 1-0)
FedEx Forum, Memphis
MEM – Conley, Allen – I
POR – Batum – IN; Kaman, Afflalo, Matthews - OUT
[insert game 1 recap here]. That’s what I could have said. The Memphis Grizzlies, once again, dominated the Portland Trailblazers 97-82 to take a 2-0 series lead, as the series shifts to Portland.
Crowds in baby blue poured into the Grindhouse to see if their home team could continue its domination into game two of the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trailblazers first round series. Memphis led the series 1-0 after a 100-86 victory on Sunday night.
The Blazers raced out to a 10-2 start, including a rare LaMarcus Aldridge three pointer. Memphis seemed to miss everything early on with layups rattling out, and Zach Randolph baby hooks clanking off the back iron. Yet even with Portland’s defensive intensity, and Aldridge’s 9 first quarter points, the Trailblazers only took a 2 point, 21-19 lead into the quarter break.
Memphis started to pound back with their super defensive effort, methodically stretching out to a 34-27 lead midway through the second. Led by Mike Conley’s 14 points, Memphis took a 50-39 lead at halftime.
The third quarter started with Portland finding some early success getting to the basket. Portland’s 12 turnovers midway through the quarter, would allow Memphis to stretch the lead to 15. Zach Randolph owned the third quarter, recording 8 points, 4 rebounds, a block, and punishing physical defense on Aldridge. The Grizzlies took 73-60 lead into the fourth.
The fourth quarter saw Portland pushing the pace, and starting to find some rhythm. Luckily for Memphis, they seemed to have an answer for every scenario. They game got a little chippy between Gasol and Robin Lopez in the middle, but all that did was add a little flavor to the whooping. Memphis would go on to win the game 97-82.
Memphis had 4 of 5 starters in double figures. Its bench outscored that of Portland 32-16.
LaMarcus Aldridge had another strong effort with 24 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
Memorable Moment: Aldridge knocked the ball away from Randolph, who then picked it back up, and systematically backed down LaMarcus all the way from the 3 point line, to turn and lay it in. Brute strength.
Stud of the Game: Courtney Lee. There is never a play called for Courtney Lee, but he certainly drained the shot whenever it got kicked out to him. He shot 8 for 11 with 18 points, and hard-nosed defense on the other end.
Dud of the Game: C.J. McCollum. Designated to the bench, he shot three for 11, for six points. 0 for four from three won’t get it done with Matthews and Afflalo out.
Stat of the Game: Beno Udrih had 8 points in 9 minutes in the first half (before he turned his ankle). Bench play was just another facet that Memphis dominated in this matchup.
The Blazer’s only real chance in this series is if Aaron Afflalo comes back and is able to make a quick impact in game three. Offensively, he’ll need to hit open threes, and take some of the pressure off Lillard’s ball-dominant style. Defensively, something to watch will be how Affalo’s lateral quickness is. Portland plays with zero cohesion, and since Wes Matthews won’t be running out of that tunnel, they have no choice but to put their faith in the very capable hands of Afflalo.
Game 3 is Saturday night, 10:30 ET on ESPN as the series shifts to Portland