Memphis Grizzlies Out-Muscle Portland Trail Blazers In Game 5 Win And Advance To Next Round
USA Today Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies didn't want to go back to Portland for a Game 6 and they played like it as they outplayed the Trail Blazers on the way to a victory.

Nick Calathes would start at point guard in place of the injured Mike Conley, but this time would do an admirable job of keeping Damian Lillard in check throughout the game. Instead it would be shooting guard C.J. McCollum who would have a career night with 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the field but it was simply not enough. 

The Trail Blazers would once again start off slow in the first quarter, but came back strong towards the end of the quarter to tie up the Grizzlies at 20-20. The back court duo of C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard were again dialed in during the first period. Lillard scored nine points and McCollum added seven points, while Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies offensive attack with eight points. 

In the second quarter the Grizzlies would claim the lead by riding the hot hand of shooting guard Courtney Lee. Lee has terrorized the Blazers from mid range all series long and had 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the first half. LaMarcus Aldridge has really struggled in this series and this game was no different as he only shoot 2-for-8 from the field in the first half.

Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 13 points in the first half, but he and C.J. McCollum cooled off after a solid first quarter as the Grizzlies made a 22-11 run to close the half. Memphis would take a 46-39 lead into the intermission.

The Blazers started the second half trying the dig themselves out of a seven-point hole. The Grizzlies kicked off the third quarter with a 4-0 mini-run to push their lead to double digits, and then extended it before C.J. McCollum once again started to heat up. McCollum would hit several tough shots to pull the Blazers even in the last two minutes of the third. Zach Randolph would then be called for an offensive foul and exchanged some words with Meyers Leinard which led to a technical being called on Randolph. 

C.J. McCollum had 16 points in that third quarter to keep the Blazers in it, but the Grizzlies would take a two-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Portland would attempt to rally in the fourth quarter but a six minute and 52 second scoring drought put an end to any hopes of extending the series. The Grizzlies really clampered down on the defensive end in the fourth quarter and continued to frustrate LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard while C.J. McCollum began to cool off. 

The Memphis Grizzlies frontcourt pairing of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph was too much for Portland to handle as they would combine for 42 points and 22 rebounds. 

Damian Lillard scored 22 points but was 8-of-19 shooting and only recorded 3 assists on the night. In what may have been his last game as a Portland Trail Blazer, LaMarcus Aldridge shot 5-of-18 from the field for a grand total of 14 points and nine boards.

The absence of Wesley Matthews and a less than 100% Arron Afflalo really hindered this Portland team with their two stars struggling for most of this series. Lot of uncertainity follows this Trail Blazer team with LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews expecting to explore free-agency.

The Memphis Grizzlies will now prepare to face the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

The status of Mike Conley is still very much in the air, but the Grizzlies hope their starting point guard can be ready for the start of Game 1 at Golden State.

VAVEL Logo