Grizzlies 97, Trail Blazers 88
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—After shaking off the boos and handing the Trail Blazers a home loss, Bonzi Wells walked over to the Portland bench and shook hands with many of his former teammates and coaches.
It was a classy act for Wells, traded to Memphis three months ago after a tumultuous tenure in Portland. There was no outward gloating over his 28 points in the Grizzlies’ 97-88 victory Wednesday night.
“The boos hurt a little bit, but they made me want to go out and get 40 something. I ended up with 28,” he said. “The booing put a little more pep in my step.”
The game was originally scheduled for Jan. 6, but an unusually intense snowstorm hit Portland and forced its postponement until Wednesday.
Wells hit a 3-pointer and followed it with a fast-break layup to make it 90-74 for the Grizzlies, who have won their last three and eight of 10.
Wells was booed by the Rose Garden crowd of a little over 16,000 when his name was announced in the starting lineup. But as he took the court for tipoff, he was warmly embraced by former teammates Damon Stoudamire and Zach Randolph.
“I miss my guys here and the whole situation down here,” Wells said. “They’re my best friends in the world, my brothers.”
Wells was traded to Memphis on Dec. 3 after a rocky start to the season in Portland.
In a November game, Wells responded to a heckling fan at the Rose Garden with an obscene gesture. He was fined by the team, but never took responsibility for the incident saying, “sometimes I black out.”
Then he was suspended for cursing at coach Maurice Cheeks during a game against Dallas. He was traded 16 days later.
Wells’ trade was the first of a pair of major moves the Blazers made during the season in ongoing efforts to improve the team’s image. Portland also dealt volatile forward Rasheed Wallace to the Atlanta Hawks, who in turn sent him to Detroit.
The Blazers, who have lost three straight after winning their previous five, face Wallace and the Pistons on Thursday night in the second of-back-to-back home games.
“Too flat,” Patterson said of the Blazers’ performance. “We came out with no energy and no effort.”
The Grizzlies led nearly all of the first quarter against the Blazers, but suffered a blow when they lost center Lorenzen Wright with a strained right knee.
Wright appeared to be injured in a collision with Darius Miles midway through the quarter and did not return. The Grizzlies said Wright would undergo an MRI on Wednesday.
Randolph went to the Blazers’ locker room late in the fourth quarter. Details weren’t immediately available, but he apparently had a sore hip. His status for Thursday night’s game was uncertain.
The Blazers took over the lead midway through the second quarter when Dale Davis’ layup made it 33-32. Portland stretched the lead to 43-38 on Stoudamire’s running jumper, but Memphis climbed back to a 45-45 tie at the break.
The Grizzlies opened the second half with an 8-0 run capped by Wells’ long jumper to make it 53-45.
“It always seems to happen when players come back to a place after they’ve been traded,” Cheeks said. “He had a great game. I tip my hat to him.”
The Grizzlies, who made it to Portland back in January before the storm, were unable to fly out of the city and also missed a game against the UtahJazz. That game has been rescheduled for April 5.
Memphis’ postponed games against the Blazers and the Jazz marked the first time in 26 years a team has missed two straight games because of bad weather. The Boston Celtics had a pair postponed back on Feb. 10 and 12, 1978. … Blazers guard Derek Anderson missed a pair of practices because of the flu, but was in the starting lineup. He visibly wasn’t feeling well, however, and said afterward he had played at 50 percent. … Portland activated G Eddie Gill; placed C Vladamir Stepania on the injured list with chronic left kneepain.