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BLAZERS GRADED: Memphis 102, Portland 98

Saturday, January 17, 2015

 

For the first time this season, the Blazers have lost three straight games.

Each of those losses has come against a Western Conference team bound for the playoffs.

Saturday it was the Grizzlies.

After falling behind by 18 at halftime and as many as 20, the Blazers fought back in Memphis. Though they made it a nail-biting finish for Grizzlies fans, the Blazers never got over the hump.

Time and time again the Grizzlies made the shots they needed to slam the door on Portland's comeback attempts. Though Memphis was without starting point guard, Mike Conley, Beno Udrich filled in admirably, hitting all seven of his shots from the floor, including a dagger with :08 seconds left that gave the Grizzlies a five point lead.

Portland, who got strong performances from LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews, got little help from anyone else. The trio was responsible for 80 of Portland's 98 points.

And while the effort to avoid their first three-game losing skid was admirable, the hole the Blazers dug themselves early was simply too great.

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LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE: A
Against the outstanding Memphis front line of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, Aldridge did his job, making half of his 22 shots, getting to the line, and grabbing nine boards. In scoring 32 points, he did his job.

NICOLAS BATUM: F
Yet another absolutely atrocious performance from Batum, who made one of six shots, and failed to affect the game in other ways. He added only two rebounds and three assists. It's getting to the point where one must wonder if a benching would rattle him straight?

CHRIS KAMAN: C-
Kaman did muster 11 rebounds against the Memphis bigs, but little else. He had four points and this nasty check-screen on Udrich that sprung Lillard for three (and was not whistled for a foul).

 

 

DAMIAN LILLARD: C+
Lillard scored, passed, rebounded and hounded Udrich on defense (even though it did little good). He finished with 23 points, six rebounds and six assists, but his shot was off, particularly in the early going. Overall he made 3-of-10 attempts from downtown and 9-of-26 overall.

WESLEY MATTHEWS: A
After a banged up body seemed to limit Matthews on Friday, he played with firey aplomb Saturday, where he made a whopping seven three's (the third such time Matthews has done so this season). On his way to 25 points, Matthews also passed Terry Porter to become the franchise's top three-point maker:

 

 

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