PORTLAND, Ore. — Things started off poorly for the Portland Trail Blazers and never got better.
The Memphis Grizzlies jumped to a 10-0 lead, increased their advantage to 24 points late in the third quarter and cruised to a 98-81 victory over the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night at the Moda Center.
“(The Grizzlies) smelled blood and they lunged at our jugular, but we slashed our own throat in a way,” Portland center Robin Lopez said. “That let them just run away with it. That’s a good squad right there. You can’t give any ground. We gave ground right away.”
Forward Zach Randolph had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and guard Mike Conley contributed 19 points and seven assists for the Grizzlies, who have won eight of their last nine contests.
Forward LaMarcus Aldridge collected 27 points and 16 rebounds for the Trail Blazers (33-13), who have lost two in a row.
Memphis (23-20) shot 51.8 percent from the field and held Portland to 34.5 percent shooting — the second consecutive game in which the Blazers shot lower than 35 percent.
“We were executing at the offensive end, but we were doing our most damage at the defensive end,” said Memphis guard Courtney Lee, who scored 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting. “Late in the third quarter, they had 53 points. We took them out of a lot of things they want to run. … Aldridge was the only one who had it clicking.”
The Grizzlies extended a 15-point halftime lead to 77-53 with 2:40 left in the third quarter. Lopez had all seven of Portland’s points in the quarter to that point. The Grizzlies’ advantage was 81-58 heading into the final period.
The Blazers scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to draw within 81-65, but Memphis answered with an 8-3 spurt. Portland made one more run, cutting the difference to 94-81 with 2:56 left, but didn’t score the rest of the way.
“We moved the ball as well as I’ve seen us, and the reason was because guys were open,” Memphis coach David Joerger said. “We screened hard, our spacing was good and we were cutting hard.”
After Portland spotted Memphis a 10-point lead in the first 2 1/2 minutes, Aldridge scored nine straight Portland points to draw the Blazers within 13-9. They closed the gap to 21-19, but the Grizzlies finished the quarter on a 10-3 run to take a 31-22 advantage into the second period. Aldridge shot 6-for-8 and scored 13 points while Randolph had 11 points for the Grizzlies in the quarter.
Memphis increased the margin to 57-39 late in the second quarter, then settled for a 61-46 edge at the half. Aldridge scored 17 first-half points for the Blazers, while Conley had 16 points and Randolph 13 for the Grizzlies, who shot 59.1 percent (26-for-44) through intermission.
NOTES: Portland F LaMarcus Aldridge recorded his 29th double-double of the season, while Memphis F Zach Randolph had his 27th. … Portland’s home record dropped to 18-5 … The Blazers, who entered the game second in the NBA in 3-point percentage (.388), started the game 0-for-12 from 3-point range and finished 4-for-24. Over the past seven games, they are 42-for-149 (.282) from long distance. … The Blazers are 9-8 in their past 17 games after a 24-5 start this season. … Aldridge passed Cliff Robinson for third place on Portland’s career scoring list (10,414) … Aldridge had his 22nd game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, second most in the NBA behind Minnesota F Kevin Love. … Aldridge started the game 6-for-7 from field but went 5-for-16 the rest of the way. … Memphis is 6-1 since the return of C Marc Gasol, who missed 23 games with a knee injury. “Gasol is a great passer and they play through him, but his biggest impact is at the defensive end,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. Memphis began the night ranked third in the NBA in scoring defense (96.0), and it let only one opponent score 100 points while going 8-1 over the past nine games. … In a battle between two of the four top rebounding teams in the NBA — Memphis No. 2, Portland No. 4 — the Grizzlies owned the boards 46-40.
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