Blazers Outlast Grizzlies To Advance And Face Lakers In 2017 Summer League Finals Rematch

by Casey Holdahl
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After a nearly two weeks of games, just two teams remain at the final table in Las Vegas.

The Portland Trail Blazers advanced to the 2018 Summer League Tournament Final for the second-straight year by defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 97-92 at Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV Monday night.

The Trail Blazers are now 6-0 at the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League and will face the top-seed Los Angeles Lakers, also undefeated at 6-0, in a rematch of the 2017 Tournament Final Tuesday night at Thomas & Mack.

The Grizzlies, the 27th-seed in the 30-team tournament, gave the two-seed Trail Blazers all they could handle Monday night, which has been a rarity during Portland’s nearly two week run in Sin City. Despite playing with Jaren Jackson Jr., the fourth overall pick of the 2018 Draft, Memphis took a 24-19 into the second quarter, which was the first time at the 2018 Summer League that Portland trailed after one quarter of play.

The Trail Blazers, playing a bit shorthanded as well with rookie Anfernee Simons sitting out with a left hip contusion, cleaned up some of their mistakes in the second quarter, though they would be plagued by turnovers and foul trouble for most of the evening. But thanks to a first-half double-double from Caleb Swanigan, the Trail Blazers were able to outscore the Grizzlies by seven in the second quarter to take a 46-44 lead into the intermission.

After a nip and tuck third quarter, Portland pushed their lead to 81-70 after a Swanigan dunk with 6:19 to play in the fourth, giving the impression that they were on the way to yet another double-digit victory in Las Vegas. But turnovers, missed free throws and dumb luck allowed the Grizzlies to put a scare into the Trail Blazers despite leading by 10 with just over a minute to play in regulation.

It wasn’t until Archie Goodwin, the all-time scoring leader in summer league history, made two free throws with 8.0 seconds to play to put the Trail Blazers up five that a rematch with the Lakers in Tuesday’s final was squared away.

Goodwin went 4-of-5 from the field and 14-of-16 from free throw line to finish with 22 points in 19 minutes off the bench.

Swanigan had easily his best statistical game of the 2018 Summer League, going 9-of-13 from the field for 21 points to go with 16 rebounds, two assists and a block in 39 minutes. The 6-9 forward out of Purdue grabbed six offensive rebounds, including a putback and-one off a missed Zach Collins free throw late in the game that was integral in helping Portland maintain their lead against a hard-charging Memphis rally.

Collins finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 28 minutes. John Jenkins went 5-of-8 from the field for 13 points while Wade Baldwin IV struggled for the first time in six games in Las Vegas, going just 2-of-13 from the field for 8 points, four assists, four rebounds and nine turnovers in 25 minutes.

The Grizzlies were led by 27 points off the bench from Brandon Goodwin. Kobi Simmons went 6-of-15 from the field and 10-of-12 from the line for 23 points.

Next up, the Trail Blazers and Lakers, both undefeated, will meet in Tuesday’s Summer League Tournament Final on ESPN. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.