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Trail Blazers 105, Grizzlies 98

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points as the Portland Trail Blazers mounted a big lead, then held on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 105-98 Sunday night at the Moda Center.

Aldridge led five double-figure scorers for the Trail Blazers, who won their third consecutive game. Guard Mo Williams added 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting for the Blazers, who led 91-70 early in the fourth quarter.

Forward Zach Randolph scored 21 points and center Marc Gasol added 20 for the Grizzlies, who fell to 2-2 on a five-game road trip that ends Tuesday at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Portland (48-27) shot 52 percent from the field and 88 percent from the foul line in the victory.

Aldridge scored 14 first-half points, and Williams and forward Thomas Robinson came off the bench to combine for 9-for-9 shooting to stake Portland to a 57-45 lead at the break. Williams (5-for-5) had 12 points and Robinson (4-for-4) eight before halftime. Portland shot 57.9 percent and outrebounded the Grizzlies 25-16 through the break.

Guard Damian Lillard’s 3-pointer hiked Portland’s edge to 68-51 four minutes into the third quarter. The Blazers jacked it to 78-60 before the Grizzlies rallied to close to within 80-68. Portland took an 86-70 edge into the fourth quarter.

When the Blazers scored the first five points of the final period, it seemed over. The Grizzlies (43-30) didn’t die, though, drawing to within 101-91 with 3:03 to play. Aldridge scored on a post-up to make it 103-91, but Randolph responded with a hook and forward James Johnson sank a 3-pointer that cut the margin to 103-96 with 1:15 left. That was as close as the Grizzlies would get.

Randolph got off to a quick start with eight points in the first four minutes, but Portland exited the first quarter with a 25-23 lead.

The Blazers went on a 16-4 run to go ahead 41-29 midway through the second quarter. Gasol drew his third foul and exited with Portland ahead 43-31 and 5:26 left before the half. The Blazers extended the lead to 51-36 and settled for a 12-point advantage at intermission.

NOTES: Memphis failed in its chance to sweep the season series from Portland after claiming double-digit victories in the teams’ first two meetings. “It’s very difficult to sweep a series,” Memphis coach David Joerger said before the game. “We’ve been on the other end of that.” … Portland coach Terry Stotts said C Marc Gasol was the key to Memphis’ resurgence after the Grizzlies started the season 15-19. “When he wasn’t healthy, they weren’t as good defensively,” Stotts said. “He talks, he’s smart, he makes everybody better at the defensive end. He’s important at the other end, too. He makes perimeter shots, but his passing and directing of the offense are the biggest difference he makes. He quarterbacks that offense.” … The Blazers have five of seven remaining games at home, with one-game trips to face Utah and the Los Angeles Lakers. … The Grizzlies came into the game ranked third in scoring defense (94.0). The Blazers came in No. 4 in scoring at 106.6. … Two of the NBA’s top rebounding teams — No. 3 Memphis, No. 6 Portland — squared off. The Grizzlies finished with a 41-39 edge on the boards.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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