Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trailblazers Game Preview

WHO: Portland Trailblazers (24-26, 10-15 on the road) at Memphis Grizzlies (31-18, 21-3 home)

WHEN: 6 p.m. CT

WHERE: FedEx Forum

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis


MEMPHIS: Desmond Bain (Questioned, knee), Danny Green (Questioned, knee), Steven Adams (Out, knee), John Konchar (Questioned, concussion protocol),

PORTLAND: Ibu Badji (Out, Knee), Greg Brown III (G League Assignment), Justise Winslow (Out, Knee), Jusuf Nurkic (Probable Hamstring), Josh Hart (Probable Calf)


MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bain, Dylan Brooks, Jaron Jackson Jr., Brandon Clark

PORTLAND: Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simmons, Josh Hart, Jusuf Nurkic, Jeremy Grant

It’s Game Day again for the Memphis Grizzlies.

In a somewhat unique schedule, the Grizzlies welcome the Portland TrailBlazers to the Fedex Forum. The Grizzlies had two full days off between home games after beating the Pacers on Sunday, but will play back-to-back games between today and tomorrow. After traveling to Cleveland for tomorrow night’s game, the Grizzlies will have two more days off to enjoy.

Of course, although this part of the schedule is a little rare, it is necessary. After a tough five-game road trip without any wins, the Grizzlies had a great second half against Indiana to earn the win on Sunday. The main reasons for the win were due to the Memphis stars taking over, as Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. were outstanding. Tonight could also see the return of Desmond Bain and John Konchar after a couple of games away, plus Danny Green’s season debut. The depth could certainly bring more opportunities for the Grizzlies to use against the Blazers.

In their last 20 games, the TrailBlazers are 7-13 after a strong start to the season. However, they have won 3 of their last 4 and a clear reason for that is due to another historic goalscoring spell from Damien Lilliard. “Dame Time” has been outstanding of late, averaging 38.8 points, including nearly 5 3-pointers per game. In recent years, the Grizzlies have done a decent job of limiting Lillard to ineffective nights from the field. However, with how special he has been recently, the Grizzlies will have their hands full preventing him from taking over for parts of the game.

Beyond Dame, here are some highlights for the Grizzlies to get their second straight win:

Outside Dame, make sure it’s no one else’s time

While keeping Damian Lillard is a top priority, keeping Anfernee Simons and Jeremy Grant should also be a focus for Memphis. Both players performed well this past week to support Portland’s recent success, and both players have had good success at times against Memphis in the past. A big defensive key for the Grizzlies is balancing Dame’s defense while not allowing Grant or Simons to get hot.

Of course, Jusuf Nurkic also looks big. Nurkic always seems to perform better than expected against Memphis, and without Steven Adams, his rebounding could once again be a problem for the Grizzlies. Little effort from Brandon Clark and Xavier Tillman, especially in hopes of letting Jaron Jackson Jr. roam free for as long as it takes to contain Nurkic.

Perimeter production

The potential availability of Bain, Green and Konchar could be a big boost to the Grizzlies’ shooting depth, as Memphis is 22nd in three-pointers made per game over each NBA team’s last 10 games. With the way Portland is playing offensively, it’s going to take more than Ja and Jaren to get the job done tonight. This includes quality shooting from the list.

Meanwhile, in their last 10 games, Portland is shooting 40.3 percent from beyond the arc and making 14.7 3-pointers per game. Lillard is a big reason for the success, and the lineup as a whole is clearly hitting its shots. The Grizzlies’ improved three-point defense should rise again.

If you are a fan of offense then tonight is sure to be a fun game to witness. While Portland can try to hit threes early and often, the Grizzlies need to stay true to themselves. And in a game where late stops will be important, the Grizzlies are the better team to do just that. Here’s hoping Memphis goes on a three-of-its-own streak and gets a big win against a Western Conference opponent.

Final: Griz 127 Portland 120

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