Trail Blazers vs Grizzlies Tuesday, 04/12/11 AT 07:00PM

Portland, Memphis Jockey For Sixth At Rose Garden

04/11/11
  1. Written by: Grant Lucas  / avg. rating: 5.0

    Two games remain on the Portland Trail Blazers schedule, but only one date is circled as of now. On Tuesday night, the Trail Blazers (47-33) host the Memphis Grizzlies (45-34) in what will be a battle for the sixth spot in the Western Conference. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 PM.

    Projected to start for the Trail Blazers are Gerald Wallace, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marcus Camby, Wesley Matthews and Andre Miller.

    The Trail Blazers are rolling with two games remaining, coming off a 93-86 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

    Aldridge put up 24 points and 11 boards to pace Portland, which held a 20-6 margin in fastbreak points and grabbed a 24-point lead in the third quarter after outscoring the lakers 21-3 in the opening minutes.

    Wallace finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, while Matthews added 18 points. Miller had 12 points and 13 assists and Batum chipped in with 13 points.

    The Trail Blazers were outrebounded 21-7 on the offensive glass, but defense kept them ahead, as Portland held the opposition to less than 40 percent shooting, while Portland maintained a 45.5 percent mark and made 10 more free throws than Los Angeles.

    Memphis, on the other hand, has taken six of the last seven games on its schedule, including a 111-89 rout of the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday night.

    In that game, O.J. Mayo came off of the bench and tied a game-high with 18 points. The Grizzlies' frontcourt - Zach Randolph, Sam Young, Marc Gasol - combined for 44 points and 18 rebounds, while Greivis Vasquez picked up 13 points and five assists as a reserve. The bench poured in a season-high 61 points.

    Memphis lit up the nets, hitting better than 60 percent of its attempts, which is the franchise's fourth-highest total, and compiling a 28-10 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to jump ahead 97-71. The Grizzlies also dominated down low, doubling up on the Hornets in the paint (56-28).

    The Trail Blazers and Grizzlies split the first two games of the series as this final matchup should determine who sits where. Portland holds a one-game edge over Memphis in the standings, but a Grizzlies' victory would give them the tiebreaker and propel Memphis into sixth place in the Western Conference. A Memphis loss and Portland would have a 2.5 game advantage with one contest left on the docket.

    Behind Matthews' then-career-high 30 points, the Trail Blazers escaped with a 100-99 squeaker in Memphis on Nov. 16. The Grizzlies returned the favor a month later with an 86-73 victory, holding Portland to a mere nine fourth-quarter points.

    In the two-game series thus far, Randolph paves the way with 22 points and 17 rebounds, while Matthews leads all scorers with 24 points per game on 56 percent shooting.

    The Trail Blazers have received transition production, outscoring Memphis 37-20 in fastbreak points while also notching 86 points in the paint compared to the Grizzlies' 76.

    Portland has won 10 of the last 13 matchups overall with the Grizzlies and hold an eight-game edge in games played in the Rose Garden.

    Portland will be without Greg Oden and Elliot Williams, who are sidelined with knee injuries. Tuesday night's matchup can be seen on Comcast SportsNet with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, while Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey will have the call on 95.5 FM The Game.

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