Trail Blazers Vs. Grizzlies Preview
January 28th, 2014
By ALAN FERGUSON
After coming up empty on the road again, the Portland Trail Blazers will try to bounce back by extending their sizable home winning streak.
Waiting for the Blazers, however, will be the red-hot Memphis Grizzlies.
Portland will try to earn a sixth straight home win Tuesday night by sending Memphis to only its second loss in the last nine games.
The Blazers (33-12) shot a season-low 33.7 percent in a 103-88 loss to Golden State on Sunday, and leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge missed 12 of 14 shots while matching his lowest output of the campaign with 10 points. He didn't score his first points until 2:18 before halftime.
The 15-point margin equaled Portland's most lopsided defeat of the season.
"That was a rough game," coach Terry Stotts said. "Golden State did a nice job with its defense. It was just one of those nights where we just didn't have enough at the offensive end."
Stotts' club has been outscored by an average of 12.0 points in its season-high three straight road losses. Portland, however, is outscoring by 10.4 points per game during its current run at home.
The Blazers, though, face a Grizzlies team that's won three in a row on the road and has really hit its stride since the return of reigning NBA defensive player of the year Marc Gasol. Memphis (22-20) has allowed an average of 86.2 points on 40.3 percent shooting in the six contests since Gasol returned from an injured left knee.
The Grizzlies earned their seventh win in eight games Saturday by finishing off a home-and-home sweep of Houston with a 99-81 victory. They held the Rockets to an average of 84.0 points, 21 below their season mark, and 38.8 percent shooting in the back-to-back games.
"We're ready to win and we prepare like we want to win," forward James Johnson said. "We travel like we want to win, and everybody is holding each other accountable. When you put those things together, we beat teams bad."
Memphis will next face the highest scoring team in the league in the Blazers (109.0 ppg). The Grizzlies won the final three matchups last season but that was en route to a franchise-best 56 wins and their first appearance in the Western Conference finals.
They gave up an average of 86.0 points on 40.8 percent shooting in the four games against Portland in 2012-13. The Blazers' Nicolas Batum particularly struggled with 8.3 points per game on 30.8 percent shooting in three of those meetings, and Wesley Matthews averaged 10.3 points on 32.4 percent shooting in the three consecutive defeats.
Aldridge averaged a respectable 17.7 points in his three games against Memphis last season despite shooting 36.2 percent, his lowest against any opponent. His 15.4 lifetime scoring average versus the Grizzlies is his worst against any team.
Memphis' Zach Randolph has averaged 22.7 points on 52.9 percent shooting in seven visits to Portland. He's made 18 of 32 shots (56.3 percent) in his last three road games versus the Blazers but averaged 16.0 points.