Notebook: Trail Blazers 86, Grizzlies 84

Posted Jan 4, 2013 11:55 PM

By Marlon W. Morgan, For

THE FACTS: Rudy Gay has hit his share of game-tying and game-winning shots during his career with the Memphis Grizzlies. Credit Portland's Nicolas Batum for studying those shots. Batum was well aware that Gay likes to go to his right in crunch-time moments. So, with 2.1 seconds left in Friday night's game, Batum forced Gay to go to his left as he launched a jumper that clanged off the rim to seal the Trail Blazers' 86-84 win at FedExForum. Portland has now won eight of its last 11 games after starting the year 9-12.

QUOTABLE: "When [Gay] goes right, he makes it almost every time. I tried to push him left for a better chance for him to miss."

-- Portland's Nicolas Batum on guarding Rudy Gay on the final shot

THE STAT: After the Grizzlies' bench gave regained the lead at 78-77, coach Lionel Hollins had all of his starters back in at the 6:34 mark of the fourth quarter. From that time on, the Grizzlies made just two of their final 15 shots from the floor.

TURNING POINT: The Grizzlies had a golden chance to take a one-point lead with 6.6 seconds left when point guard Mike Conley got free on a drive to the basket. But he inexplicably missed the layup with his team trailing 85-84. Portland (17-15) got the rebound and LaMarcus Aldridge made 1 of his 2 free throws with 2.1 seconds left, providing the final margin.

HOT: Portland guard Wesley Matthews proved to be a difficult matchup for Grizzlies' defensive stopper Tony Allen. Matthews scored a team-high 21 points, connecting of 5 of his 8 3-point attempts. He was 3-for-4 from long range in the second half for Memphis (20-10).

NOT: After scoring 17 points in the first half on 7-for-13 shooting, Gay struggled from all over the court in the second half. He was just 1-for-8 from the floor after intermission, scoring two points. Gay missed three of the team's final four shot attempts.

QUOTABLE II: "If you can't make buckets, you can't score. We got shots. We got to the basket. We did things that we've been trying to do. We just didn't make anything. That happens sometimes. Struggles are struggles."

-- Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins

NOTABLE: Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph missed the game against the team that drafted him with flu-like symptoms. His replacement, Marreese Speights, did his best imitation of the double-double machine with game-highs of 23 points and 13 rebounds. His 23 points were a season-high. ... The Trail Blazers have now won two of their first three road games during their four-game trip, bouncing back from a tough loss at Toronto on Wednesday. The trip concludes Saturday night at Minnesota. ... The Grizzlies have lost four of their last six games, including two of their last three at home. ... Memphis center Marc Gasol had a career-high eight blocked shots which tied the franchise record. Six of those came in the first quarter. He also had 12 points and six rebounds. ... J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Portland, while Aldridge added 15 points, 12 boards and five blocked shots. ... The Grizzlies will now hit the road for a three-game road trip which begins Sunday at Phoenix. The other stops are Sacramento and Golden State. ... The fourth quarter was about as ugly as it gets, with Portland outscoring Memphis 14-12. The Trail Blazers shot 19 percent (4-for-21) in the quarter, while the Grizzlies were much better at 22.7 percent (5-for-22). ... Portland did manage to make 10 3-pointers. ... The Grizzlies scored a season-low 34 points in the second half after scoring 50 in the first half.

UP NEXT: For the Trail Blazers, Saturday @ Minnesota, Monday vs. Orlando, Thursday vs. Miami. For the Grizzlies, Sunday @ Phoenix, Monday @ Sacramento, Wednesday @ Golden State.