Hero Damian Lillard (42 points) beats Ja Morant’s Grizzlies
When Damian Lillard (42 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists) is in such a “zone”. Blazers it can compete with anyone or almost anyone. The description of the night, as the All-Star point guard did his best to defend these with more difficult shots than others. The Grizzlieshe couldn’t hold it all evening.
The result of the competitions: a month and a half after the players’ last success away from home Portland The second-best team in the Western Conference won on the floor (122-112), coincidentally in the top 3 for the most wins at home.
Although very good Ja Morant (32 points, 9 rebounds, 12 assists) as the leader of the local team, Memphis eventually fell apart and so could not continue (or even recover), conceding their sixth loss in seven games.
WHAT TO REMEMBER
— Damian Lillard, miracle worker. Seeing as Jerami Grant was no longer in the game and he joined Jusuf Nurkic in the hospital, we didn’t give the Blazers a lot of skin in the second half. However, thanks to the “Queen” of the castle, Chauncey Billups’ men won their fourth in five games, and the genius hitting of their star leaders had a lot to do with it. Regardless of the defense he received, Damian Lillard found a way to score (and score). Off-balance in both shooting (15/16) and 3-pointers (5/13), hot or passing.
— Ja Morant, brave but defeated. On the brink of his third straight triple-double, fellow Grizzlies guard Damian Lillard did his best to answer back, but ultimately got the better of him that night. Their All-Stars duel was fun to watch anyway, and they won on offense in the third quarter. But in the fourth quarter, for all the fire and liveliness of the youngest, whose relative judgment we may regret, the more experienced of the two had the last word.
— The return of Danny Green. The three-time NBA champion, who landed with the Grizzlies from Philadelphia last summer, hasn’t walked the floor since May 2022 and suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the playoffs. But nine months later, and despite what some feared was the end of his career, he made a big return to competition under the colors of Memphis. Used off the bench, he played 10 minutes, had time to score a 3-pointer (from 1/4 distance), but couldn’t get the win in the finish…
✅ Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simons. Damian Lillard obviously took the spotlight on the Blazers side, but his flagship lieutenants weren’t overlooked either. In the first half, before the injury, Memphis was led by Jerami Grant (18 points), who connected with Portland with Damian Lillard. In the second half, and especially in the fourth quarter, Anfernee Simons (26 points) put her team in a position to play a tense “money time”, while Damian Lillard rested before planting a +5 basket with a minute to go. Also note for Drew Eubanks (11 points, 11 rebounds and two big posters).
✅ Jaren Jackson Jr.. His surge in minutes and quarters wasn’t rewarded with success, but “JJJ” (18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 blocks) often showed big things for the Grizzlies on both ends of the floor. The 23-year-old, who is very comfortable against the “small ball” of the Blazers, took advantage of the paint advantage in the interior and became one of those who participated in Memphis’ refereeing with several baskets. Defensively, his ability to dribble, block shots and deflect balls remains impressive despite criticism of some of his stats.
⛔ Portland sores. Jusuf Nurkic (calf) left after two minutes and Jerami Grant (concussion protocol) left shortly before halftime, while Josh Hart (unspecified) left the locker room in the third quarter as well. Suffice it to say, Blazers owners are in physical pain, and that won’t help Damian Lillard’s already collectively struggling teammates.
Memphis (32-19) : Back in Cleveland, Thursday night (1:30 a.m.).
Portland (25-26) : Trip to Washington, Friday to Saturday night (01:00).