'Eight-Game Playoff' In Orlando Starts Friday With Grizzlies

by Casey Holdahl
Follow @chold

After four months of waiting, three weeks of training camp and three scrimmages, the Portland Trail Blazers are ready to restart their season at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

“We’re ready to play,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “We’ve had three good weeks of practices, I think there’s no question in my mind we’re ready to play on Friday. I don’t know if I’d call it excitement, but we’re ready. We feel good about where we are.”

And considering the situation they find themselves in with eight games to play, it’s a good thing they’re entering their first game in Orlando with a wealth of confidence.

In the first game of their eight-game restart schedule, the Trail Blazers face the Memphis Grizzlies in a game with serious playoff implications for both teams.

“This is a big game, we know it,” said Stotts. “We’re 3.5 games behind Memphis, if we dig ourselves a 4.5 game deficit and are fighting the other teams for the ninth spot, it’s going to be tough. I think everybody on the team knows how important this game is.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

SERIES NOTES

ALL TIME: Trail Blazers lead, 50-40
IN PORTLAND: Trail Blazers lead, 27-17
AT THE GRIZZLIES: Series is tied, 23-23
LAST PORTLAND WIN: 116-89, 4/3/19 (Portland)
LAST GRIZZLIES WIN: 111-104, 2/12/20 (Memphis)
CURRENT WIN STREAK: One (Memphis)

GAME NOTES

•Friday's meeting will be the second of two games between the Trail Blazers and the Grizzlies during the 2019-20 season. Memphis leads the season series, 1-0.

• The Grizzlies lead the Trail Blazers by 3.5 games in the Western Conference standings. Portland must pass Memphis or be within four games back at the conclusion of the eight seeding games in order to force play-in games for the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.

LAST MEETING: The Grizzlies took down the Trail Blazers, 111-104, in Memphis on Feb. 12. CJ McCollum led Portland with 23 points (9-25 FG, 3-9 3-PT, 2-2 FT), three rebounds, five assists and one steal, while Brandon Clarke led Memphis with a career-high 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting (3-5 FT), to go with six rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block.

• CJ McCollum has scored at least 20 points in seven of his last eight games against the Grizzlies, including two games of 40-plus points. McCollum is averaging 20.9 points per game against Memphis for his career, his-fifth highest average against any team.

• Damian Lillard scored 20 points (7-19 FG, 2-7 3-PT, 4-4 FT) to go with five rebounds, 10 assists and one steal against Memphis on Feb. 12. Lillard has reached the 20-point mark in each of his last four games against the Grizzlies, including double-doubles in each of his last two.

• Anfernee Simons had a season-high 22 points (7-12 FG, 6-7 3-PT, 2-2 FT) to go with seven rebounds and one assist at Memphis on Feb. 12. It was the second-highest scoring game of his career, and his six 3-PM were one shy of his career-high (seven, Apr. 10, 2019 vs. Sac.).

• Ja Morant finished with 20 points (9-23 FG, 2-2 FT), five rebounds, nine assists and one steal in his first career game against Portland on Feb. 12.

• Brandon Clarke had matched his career high with 27 points (12-14 FG, 3-5 FT) to go with six rebounds and two steals off the bench against the Trail Blazers on Feb. 12.

• Jonas Valanciunas recorded 12 points (5-11 FG, 2-4 FT), 18 rebounds, two assists and three blocks against the Trail Blazers on Feb. 12. Valanciunas has scored in double figures in 11 straight games against Portland.

CONNECTION: Portland guard Gary Trent Jr. and Memphis guard Grayson Allen were teammates at Duke University during the 2017-18 season.

CONNECTION: Portland center Hassan Whiteside and Memphis forward Justice Winslow were teammates on the Miami Heat from 2015-19.

INJURY NOTES

Portland G Jaylen Adams (low back pain) is questionable for Friday's game.

Rodney Hood (left ruptured Achilles tendon) is not with the team in Orlando and will not participate in any scrimmages nor games the rest of the season. Trevor Ariza (personal reasons) and Caleb Swanigan (personal reasons) are not with the team and will not play in Orlando.

For the Grizzlies, Tyus Jones (right knee; soreness) and Justise Winslow (left hip; displacement) are out.

BROADCAST NOTES

Friday’s game can be seen locally on NBC Sports Northwest with Jordan Kent, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam calling the action. Travis Demers and Michael Holton will have the call on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations on the Deschutes Brewery Trail Blazers Radio Network.

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