Trail Blazers-Grizzlies Preview
Memphis' current losing streak started with a defeat in Portland. That was also the Trail Blazers' latest win.
While likely debuting at least one new player, the Grizzlies will try to avoid a fifth straight loss Friday night and extend the Blazers' woes by recording an eighth consecutive home win in the series.
Memphis (3-6) has dropped four straight beginning with a 115-96 loss to Portland on Nov. 5 on the second stop of a season-high five-game trip. The Grizzlies fell 100-84 to Golden State in their return home Wednesday, and their 34.3 percent shooting marked the fourth time they've connected at less than 36.0 this season. They had one such performance in 2014-15.
"We're frustrated, but we're confident at the same time. I know we can pull things together," forward Tony Allen said. "But looking at the standings, and being down (out of playoff position), it should frustrate you. It should hurt inside, because we know we're better than that."
The Grizzlies struggled more on defense against the Blazers, specifically in the middle quarters when they were outscored by a combined 72-48. Damian Lillard had 14 of his team-leading 27 points in a span of six-plus minutes in the third.
C.J. McCollum added 20 points while Courtney Lee was the Grizzlies' top scorer with a season-high 18.
The Blazers (4-5), though, have dropped seven in a row in Memphis. That includes three losses in last season's first-round playoff defeat.
Portland enters this one having dropped three in a row while giving up an average of 113.7 points on 52.2 percent shooting. The Blazers lost 113-101 on Wednesday to San Antonio in franchise great LaMarcus Aldridge's return to Portland, allowing a season-high 56.1 percent shooting.
Lillard scored a team-best 22 points while dealing with a torn nail on his right thumb. Meyers Leonard dislocated his left shoulder in the third quarter, and his status is unclear.
"It's pretty stiff and sore right now," Leonard said. "We'll see with time, but I'm hoping I can heal quick. It's frustrating, but it is what it is… I've done this a couple times but normally it's what they call a subluxed, so it slips in and out.
"This time it was a complete dislocation. We'll see, I'm hoping for a quick recovery. I want to get back to the court and play."
Gerald Henderson had 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 18 minutes in his Portland debut following offseason hip surgery.
Mario Chalmers will likely play his first game for Memphis after being traded from Miami with James Ennis on Tuesday. Memphis sent Beno Udrih and Jarnell Stokes to the Heat.
The Grizzlies' Marc Gasol, who had a season-best 26 points Wednesday, also had 26 points along with 14 rebounds in the series clincher in Memphis on April 29. He had 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting and five boards in the loss earlier this month.
McCollum is averaging 24.3 points on 54.7 percent shooting, including a 15-of-23 performance from 3-point range, in his last four games against Memphis.
Lee is averaging 19.0 points while shooting 67.3 percent in his past five such matchups versus Portland.
Memphis hasn't dropped five in a row since Dec. 11-18, 2013.