Outlaw Steps in, Helps Blazers Top Grizzlies
Portland 95, Memphis 87
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 22 (Ticker) -- One day after Ruben Patterson was sent home, Travis Outlaw helped the Portland Trail Blazers win on the road.
Outlaw scored 10 points off the bench and provided timely offense as the Trail Blazers won on the road for the first time this season with a 95-87 victory over the cold-shooting Memphis Grizzlies.
"I told the guys this was a big game," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "This was a good team, and after the way we played in New York, with everything going on, we came out and talked about the things we needed to do in practice. Well, we had a really good practice and we came out here and played, I thought, 48 minutes."
In the New York game, Patterson unleashed an expletive-filled tirade at McMillan, presumably over playing time. On Monday, the team put Patterson on the inactive list and sent him home to Portland.
"I just think there's a lot being made of nothing," said Memphis guard Damon Stoudamire, who spent the last six-plus seasons in Portland. "Sometimes things happen and that's that. What they've got to learn how to do is to keep more stuff in house instead of sharing it with everybody. If you kept stuff in house a little more, a lot of the stuff that happens wouldn't look so crazy."
Patterson's absence opened the door for Outlaw, a third-year forward who had played just 32 minutes this season. Backing up Miles, Outlaw played 21 minutes and made 4-of-6 shots, showing range on his jumper and a nose for the ball with four rebounds and two steals.
"He gave us what we thought he was capable of doing," McMillan said. "We want him to get tougher. ... We lost a very good player tonight in Ruben, but as I told our guys, you've always got to be ready to play. The opportunities will come, and Travis came on and did a nice job of providing scoring."
While Outlaw and the rest of the Blazers appeared ready to play, the Grizzlies did not. Returning from a 3-1 road trip, Memphis (7-5) shot under 39 percent (35-of-90) and lost at home for the first time since Opening Night.
Miles triggered a quick start, scoring 10 points as Portland made 13-of-19 shots in the first quarter and built a 31-23 lead. They widened it to 51-38 at halftime and never trailed thereafter.
"We played hard and stuck with what we were doing," Miles said. "We knew they were going to make a run and we shut that down. Our big players hit big shots."
In the fourth quarter, Miles scored three straight hoops to rebuild the lead to 75-65, Randolph took over the offense for a brief stretch and reserve Juan Dixon sealed the win with nine points in the last minute.
"We didn't have a good shooting night, and Portland had a great defensive night," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "We got good stops defensively and got the ball down the court, but they would make more shots again. They chased down the loose balls and got most of them. They had good energy and they earned that win."
"I just don't think we came out ready to play," Stoudamire said. "We're not good enough to try and turn it off and on. We thought Portland was going to come up in here and not want to play. Well, they came to play and we gave one away. They just wanted it more tonight."
Dixon scored 20 points for Portland, which shot 47 percent (34-of-73) and got a huge effort from its bench. In addition to Outlaw's contributions, Theo Ratliff had nine rebounds and four blocks.
"We showed we have a lot of character," Dixon said. "It's a different team than last year. I wasn't here, but I can see the difference in the young guys. We had a great practice, so we have to credit that for the win."
Shane Battier scored 21 points and Mike Miller added 20 off the bench for Memphis, which got virtually nothing from its top three guards. Stoudamire (2-of-10), Eddie Jones (3-of-10) and Bobby Jackson (0-of-7) combined for 18 points on 5-of-27 shooting.
Joel Przybilla had a pair of hoops that capped a 9-0 surge midway through the second quarter that gave Portland a 46-32 lead. Pau Gasol, who had 18 points and 16 boards, scored eight points in a 14-2 burst that opened the second half and pulled Memphis within a point.
The Grizzlies cut the deficit to one on three more occasions but could not tie or grab the lead. They trailed, 69-65, when Miller opened the final period with a hoop before Miles took charge with three baskets in 90 seconds.
"We have to figure out what we're doing wrong," Miller said. "It isn't going to get any easier. We have Houston on Friday and Dallas on Saturday. We have to refocus and get ready to play."