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Trail Blazers fight, fall short at Grizzlies

04/21/12
  1. Written by: KevinHudson


    The Portland Trail Blazers made a late run against the Memphis Grizzlies, Saturday, but ultimately came up short, falling 93-89 at the FedEx Forum.

    Portland (28-36) trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half and by 12 points, 91-79, with four minutes remaining in the game.

    A Wesley Matthews putback then sparked a 10-0 Trail Blazers run over the next three minutes, pulling Portland within one possession of the Grizzlies, 91-89, with 32 seconds to play.

    Luke Babbitt rebounded Mike Conley's 20-foot miss on the ensuing Grizzlies possession to give Portland the ball and a chance to tie or take the lead with 10 seconds left on the clock.

    But after the Trail Blazers timeout, Matthews right-wing three-point attempt was blocked by Rudy Gay, who gained possession, then hit two free throws to seal the final margin for the home team.

    "I think we just started playing harder on the offensive end and defensive end. In the first half, I think they kind of had their way with us," said Portland forward JJ Hickson. "Our half-time adjustment was to go out and match their physicality and come out with the mindset that they are going to let us play. Once we did, that got us back in the game. We just came up short at the end."

    Hickson led all scorers with 23 points and 13 rebounds, good for his sixth double-double in a Trail Blazers jersey. Jamal Crawford chipped in 21 points of the bench and Matthews added 16 points and seven rebounds.

    The Trail Blazers started strong and led 27-24 after the first quarter, their first such lead in the last 17 road games. Included among first period highlights were seven of Hasheem Thabeet's season-high eight rebounds in his role as the starting center.

    "This is a team that is fighting for playoff position. They are a really good team," said Crawford. "We are missing a lot of key guys from our team, but guys are out there getting better. The young guys are getting better."

    Memphis responded with a 30-point second period to take a nine-point lead into halftime and would hold the advantage comfortably until Portland's late run.

    Gay led the Grizzlies with 21 points and Marreese Speights tallied a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

    "Being down two with 10.1 seconds left is a frustrating game to lose, but I am proud of the effort that we gave," Hickson said. "We fought back into the game. Like I said, we just came up a little bit short."

    Portland travels to take on the Spurs, Monday, 5:30 p.m., in San Antonio. The game can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

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