The Portland Trail Blazers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night, falling 116-111 in a game that was decided in the final minutes. The Blazers fought hard throughout the game, overcoming a 13-point deficit in the third quarter and taking a four-point lead with 3:27 left in the fourth.
However, the Grizzlies responded with a 15-6 run to close the game, fueled by clutch plays from Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks.
The Blazers had a chance to tie the game with 10.9 seconds left, but Damian Lillard missed a contested three-pointer and Morant secured the rebound. Morant then made two free throws to seal the win for the Grizzlies, who improved to 4-1 on the season.
Morant finished with 28 points, eight assists and five rebounds, while Jackson Jr. added 21 points and seven rebounds. Brooks chipped in with 18 points and four steals.
The Blazers were led by CJ McCollum, who scored 27 points and made seven three-pointers. Lillard had a rough shooting night, going 7-of-24 from the field and 2-of-9 from beyond the arc.
He ended up with 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Norman Powell had 19 points and five rebounds, while Jusuf Nurkic had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The game was a physical and intense affair, with both teams playing hard on both ends of the floor. The Blazers and the Grizzlies combined for 48 fouls and 56 free throws.
The Blazers had the edge in three-point shooting, making 17 out of 40 attempts (42.5%), while the Grizzlies made only nine out of 29 (31%). However, the Grizzlies dominated in the paint, scoring 66 points in the lane compared to the Blazers’ 38. The Grizzlies also had more fast break points (18-8) and points off turnovers (22-14).
The Blazers showed resilience and grit in their comeback attempt, but they could not overcome the Grizzlies’ late-game execution and poise. The loss dropped the Blazers to 2-3 on the season and snapped their two-game winning streak.
The Blazers will look to bounce back on Thursday when they host the Los Angeles Clippers at Moda Center.
Final Thoughts: Blazers’ Late-Game Struggles Continue in Loss to Grizzlies
The Portland Trail Blazers put up a valiant effort against the Memphis Grizzlies, but their late-game struggles once again proved costly. Despite overcoming a double-digit deficit and taking a late lead, the Blazers could not close out the game, as the Grizzlies executed better down the stretch.
Damian Lillard, the Blazers’ star point guard, had a rough shooting night and missed a key three-pointer that could have tied the game late in the fourth quarter. While he still contributed with his playmaking and rebounding, his scoring was sorely missed in a game that saw the Blazers struggle to keep pace with the Grizzlies’ offensive output.
On the other hand, CJ McCollum had a standout performance, leading the Blazers with 27 points and knocking down seven three-pointers. Norman Powell and Jusuf Nurkic also had solid contributions, but it was not enough to overcome the Grizzlies’ balanced attack.
The game was physical and intense, with both teams playing hard on both ends of the floor. However, the Grizzlies had the edge in the paint, scoring 66 points inside compared to the Blazers’ 38. They also capitalized on the Blazers’ turnovers, scoring 22 points off them.
The Blazers’ late-game struggles have been a recurring theme this season, and it is an issue that they need to address moving forward. They have the talent to compete with the best teams in the league, but their execution and poise down the stretch need improvement.
Overall, the Blazers can take some positives from their comeback effort and their impressive three-point shooting. However, they need to tighten up their defense and find ways to finish games strong if they want to be a serious contender in the Western Conference.