Losing Streak Extends To Five With Another Loss To Grizzlies

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- The Portland Trail Blazers finished a four-game homestand with a 120-113 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday afternoon at the Moda Center.

The Trail Blazers are now 32-28 overall and 16-16 at home this season. Portland has now lost five-straight, their longest such streak of the season, nine of their last 11 and both of their meetings with the Grizzlies this season. The Grizzlies how now won the season series and the playoff tiebreaker should both teams end with the same record.

With the loss, Portland is now seventh in the Western Conference standings, 1.5 games behind the Dallas Mavericks for sixth with 12 games to play. However, they’re up just half game up on the Grizzlies, currently the eighth-place team, 1.5 games up on the ninth-place Spurs and 2.0 games up on the tenth-place Warriors.

If you watched Friday’s loss to the Grizzlies at the Moda Center, you already have a pretty good idea of what happened in the Sunday edition. While Memphis build a larger lead Sunday afternoon than they did Friday night, Portland always managed to stay just close enough to keep the game interesting, a hallmark of the previous meeting.

The Blazers made their first big push early in the fourth quarter, with Carmelo Anthony making four-straight three-pointers to start the fourth quarter to power an 11-2 run that cut Memphis’ lead to 94-92 with 9:32 to play.

But the Grizzlies, as was the case on Friday, always had an answer. Dillon Brooks and Jonas Valenciunas scored 10-straight to push the Grizzlies lead back to double digits by the midway point of the fourth. Portland had one more push left, going 8-1 in a 45 second span late in the quarter to cut Memphis’ lead to 114-111 with just under a minute to play, but would lose the momentum by throwing the ball away on an inbound with 34.5 seconds to play.

The Trail Blazers had to intentionally foul the rest of the way in order to preserve the clock, and with the Grizzlies making their free throws, there was never a real chance, nor enough time, to made any real headway.

CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 27 points on 10-of-21 shooting from the field, three assists and two rebounds in 37 minutes. Damian Lillard went 8-of-27 from the field for 23 points to go with six rebounds, five assists, a block and a steal in 37 minutes.

Jusuf Nurkic followed up a strong performance in Friday’s loss with another in Sunday’s going 6-of-13 from the field for 16 points, 19 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal in 29 minutes.

Norman Powell finished with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists and Anthony finished with 12 points off the bench.

Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 28 points and eight rebounds. Valanciunas put up a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds after missing the previous contest with a concussion.

The Trail Blazers will now have the unenviable task of trying to end a losing streak on a long road trip. Portland’s six-game sojourn starts Tuesday with a tilt versus the Pacers in Indianapolis. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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