Two-Game Series Versus Grizzlies Starts Friday

by Casey Holdahl
Follow @chold

After losing three-straight, five of their last six and seven of their last 10, the Portland Trail Blazers now find themselves in a tie for sixth in the Western Conference with 14 games to play. So if they want to hold off the teams below them in the standings and avoid the play-in tournament, they’ll need to turn their recent fortunes.

Portland will host one of those teams nipping at their heels, the Memphis Grizzlies, the team they defeated in the 2020 play-in tournament, in consecutive games starting with a meeting Friday at the Moda Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

SERIES HISTORY

ALL TIME: Trail Blazers lead, 51-40
PORTLAND HOME: Trail Blazers lead, 27-17
MEMPHIS HOME: Series is tied, 23-23
LAST PORTLAND WIN: 140-135, 7/31/20 (Portland)
LAST MEMPHIS WIN: 111-104, 2/12/20 (Memphis)
CURRENT WIN STREAK: One (Portland)

SERIES NOTES

• The Trail Blazers April 23 game against the Grizzlies will be the first of three meetings between Portland and Memphis this season. All three matchups come within a four-game span, concluding on April 28 in Memphis.

LAST SEASON: The Trail Blazers and Grizzlies split the 2019-20 season series, 1-1. Portland and Memphis have split the season series each of the past three years.

• Damian Lillard averaged 24.5 points (41.5% FG, 25.0% 3-PT, 84.6% FT), 5.0 rebounds and 9.5 assists in two games against the Grizzlies last season. Lillard has scored at least 20 points in each of his last five games against Memphis.

• CJ McCollum averaged 28.0 points (50.0% FG, 40.0% 3-PT, 100% FT), 3.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.50 steals in two games against Memphis last season. McCollum is averaging 21.6 points over his 20 career games against the Grizzlies, his third-highest average against any NBA team.

• On July 31, 2020, his only game against the Grizzlies last season, Jusuf Nurkic recorded 18 points (5-11 FG, 8-8 FT), nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and six blocks. His six rejections tied a career-high (three times previous).

• In two games against Portland last season, Ja Morant averaged 21.0 points (35.6% FG, 8.3% 3-PT, 100% FT), 5.5 rebounds, 10.0 assists and 1.00 steals. The Trail Blazers are the only NBA team Morant is averaging a career double-double against.

• Brandon Clarke averaged 24.0 points (86.4% FG, 76.9% FT), 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 blocks in two games against the Trail Blazers last season, including a career-high 27-point (12-14 FG) performance on Feb. 12, 2020. Clarke's career average of 24.0 points against Portland is his highest against any team.

MILESTONE WATCH: Damian Lillard (1,990 career 3PM) is 10th on the NBA all-time list for made three-pointers. With 10 more three-pointers, Lillard will be the second-fastest player in league history to reach 2,000 made threes (Curry, 597 games). Lillard is currently at 668 games for his career.

LAST THREE GAMES

Game #58 - Denver 106, Portland 105 — April 21, 2021, Moda Center, Portland

The Trail Blazers suffered a second one-point loss in as many nights, falling to the Nuggets 106-105 Wednesday night in Portland ... Portland had six players score in double-figures for the 15th time this season ... Damian Lillard paced the Trail Blazers with 22 points (9-23 FG, 2-10 3-PT, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, five assists and two steals ... Lillard passed Jason Kidd and is now in sole possession of 10th on the NBA all-time list for made threes ... CJ McCollum added 14 points (6-13 FG, 2-7 3-PT), a season-high nine rebounds, five assists and two steals ... Norman Powell had 17 points (4-10 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 8-8 FT) and two rebounds, assists and steals ... Robert Covington recorded 12 points and eight boards ... Jusuf Nurkic finished with eight points, seven rebounds, and six assists ... Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 25 points (9-18 FG, 1-6 3-PT, 6-7 FT), nine rebounds and five assists ... Michael Porter Jr. scored 17 points, all coming in the first quarter.

Game #57 - LA Clippers 113, Portland 112 — April 20, 2021, Moda Center, Portland

With both squads without their respective stars, the Trail Blazers weren't able to hold off a fourth-quarter Clipper comeback, getting edged out 113-112 Tuesday night at Moda Center ... Portland recorded single-digit turnovers for the 22nd time this season, a mark which leads the NBA ... CJ McCollum led Portland with 28 points (11-26 FG, 3-12 3-PT, 3-4 FT), five rebounds, five assists and two steals ... Norman Powell added 23 points (10-20 FG, 3-10 3-PT), one rebound, three assists and one steal ... Carmelo Anthony finished with 18 points (5-18 FG, 3-9 3-PT, 5-6 FT), three rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes ... Anfernee Simons had 13 points (4-8 FG, 3-6 3-PT, 2-3 FT), one rebound, one assist and tied a career-high with three steals ... Nassir Little had seven points and 10 boards ... Paul George led the Clippers with 33 points (13-22 FG, 2-8 3-PT, 5-6 FT), 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals ... Marcus Morris Sr. added 16 points and six boards.

Game #56 - Charlotte 109, Portland 101 — April 18, 2021, Spectrum Center, Charlotte

In the second game without Damian Lillard, Portland wasn't able to overcome 44 first-quarter Charlotte points and eventually fell, 109-101 to the Hornets in Charlotte ... Portland outrebounded Charlotte on the offensive glass, leading to a 17-11 advantage in second chance points ... Carmelo Anthony led Portland in scoring with 24 points (8-19 FG, 6-12 3-PT, 2-2 FT) to go with three rebounds and two assists, tying his season-high with six three-pointers ... CJ McCollum added 22 points (8-22 FG, 2-8 3-PT, 4-7 FT), six rebounds, six assists and two steals ... Norman Powell finished with 17 points (6-16 FG, 1-8 3-PT, 4-4 FT), three rebounds, two assists and two steals ... Jusuf Nurkic recorded 12 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks ... Enes Kanter had 12 points and seven boards off the bench ... Terry Rozier led Charlotte with 34 points (13-24 FG, 7-13 3-PT, 1-2 FT), eight rebounds and 10 assists ... PJ Washington added 23 points and eight boards.

INJURY NOTES

Derrick Jones Jr. (right hip, contusion) is questionable and Zach Collins (left ankle, stress fracture) is out for Friday's game vs. Memphis.

As for the Grizzlies, Jonas Valanciunas (concussion protocol) is out.

BROADCAST NOTES

Friday’s game can be seen locally on NBC Sports Northwest. The game can be heard on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations of the Deschutes Brewery Trail Blazers Radio Network.

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