Trail Blazers-Grizzlies Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers have won three of four as they make a push for their second straight playoff appearance. A road matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies should give them a good opportunity to continue that surge.
Portland tries for its seventh straight victory at FedEx Forum on Monday night when it faces a Grizzlies team that has not won at home in a month.
The Trail Blazers (35-27) are fourth in the Northwest Division and clinging to one of the last playoff spots in the Western Conference. Portland, which leads the Grizzlies (30-29) by 3 1/2 games in the West, faces Memphis for the final time this season after improving to 3-1 on its five-game trip with a 110-91 victory over Minnesota on Saturday.
"He's scored points but I've never seen him that aggressive," said Roy, who has averaged 24.3 points and 8.3 assists in three games versus Memphis this season. "He was playing. He had some assists, he had some leak outs, some jumpers. He wasn't just shooting 3-pointers."
Batum has not faced the Grizzlies in 2009-10, having missed the previous matchups due to a torn right labrum that sidelined him for the first 45 games.
In the teams' last meeting at FedEx Forum on Nov. 10, Roy had 20 points and seven assists and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 16 with 12 boards to lift the Blazers to a 93-79 win - their eighth straight in the series. Portland has not lost in Memphis since Dec. 21, 2005.
The Blazers, though, fell twice at home to the Grizzlies after the Nov. 10 game and will be looking to avoid losing the season series for the first time since 2005-06.
Memphis will have to change its fortunes at home for that to happen. The Grizzlies have lost a season-high six in a row at FedEx Forum since a 95-93 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 1.
Memphis is 1-7 on its home court since a franchise-record 11-game home win streak from Dec. 18-Jan. 25.
It has been a different story away from Memphis, as the Grizzlies matched a team record with their fourth straight road victory Saturday, 120-109 over New York.
"First we had the problem that we were winning at home and we couldn't win away from the FedEx,'' center Marc Gasol said after piling up 25 points, 13 rebounds and a season-high eight assists versus the Knicks. "Now we have the opposite problem, so we'll see how it goes.''
The play of Zach Randolph has the Grizzlies thinking they can earn their first postseason berth in four seasons. Randolph, a first-round pick by Portland in 2001, grabbed a career-high 25 rebounds Saturday and is averaging 20.6 points and a career-best 11.9 boards.
Randolph averaged 24.0 points and 11.5 rebounds in the two wins in Portland this season but had 11 points and 12 boards Nov. 10.
Gasol has recorded two straight double-doubles against Portland, but will likely be matched up with Marcus Camby, who faces the Grizzlies for the first time in a Blazers uniform. Camby, acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 16, is among the league leaders with 11.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.