Grizzlies hang on for 106-96 win over Blazers
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—The Memphis Grizzlies may not be a contender yet, though they were impressive in beating one Friday night.
Memphis (6-10) is still far down in the Western Conference, though it may not be long if the offensive-minded Grizzlies keep it up. Playing against the NBA’s best scoring defense, Memphis poured in a season-high 61 points during the first half. The Grizzlies topped 100 points for the fifth time in six games.
Memphis shot nearly 54 percent from the field (43 of 80), and five Grizzlies scored in double figures.
“This is the best we’ve played against a quality opponent,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said.
The Grizzlies scored 21 unanswered points as part of a 31-2 run in the first half to break open the game.
It started with Portland (12-6) leading 15-11 midway through the first quarter. Mike Conley(notes) scored on a fast-break layup to get things going. By quarter’s end, Memphis ran off 18 consecutive points, with Randolph scoring six, to take a 29-15 lead.
The Grizzlies extended their run to 21-0 early in the second quarter before Portland’s Andre Miller(notes) made a layup to end the Blazers’ scoreless stretch of 8 1/2 minutes. But it wasn’t over for Memphis. After Miller’s basket, O.J. Mayo(notes) and Jamaal Tinsley(notes) hit consecutive 3-pointers and the Grizzlies scored 10 unanswered points to build their lead to 42-17.
Memphis’ 31-2 run came over a stretch of nearly 12 minutes.
“Our defense was the key,” said Mayo, who scored 19 points. “We knew going into the season that we weren’t going to have any trouble scoring, but defensively, it takes a team effort, mental discipline and toughness to win.
Memphis maintained control throughout the first half, leading by as many as 29 points before settling for a 61-39 halftime lead. Portland shot only 36 percent (15 of 42) during the first half.
“It was nice to be running downhill instead of always being behind and running uphill,” Mayo said.
Memphis had only a few flat spots during the second half. The Blazers cut the lead to 77-63 by the end of the third quarter, but got no closer than eight points when Brandon Roy(notes) hit a pair of free throws with 3:35 left in the game.
“It was an awesome performance from start to finish. They came in and were ready to play. It was beautiful,” Hollins said.
Portland, which had won its previous six home games by an average margin of 17.1 points, left coach Nate McMillan fuming.
“That team comes in here and jumps on us like that? No energy. I thought for most of the game there was no energy and really no excuse for no energy,” McMillan said. “I don’t know if we thought this was going to be easy or what. It just shows that if we don’t come to play, anybody can beat us.”
Notes: Memphis’ 21-0 run during the first half tied a franchise record, and is the longest run on the road in team history. The win ended an eight-game losing streak by Memphis against Portland. … The Grizzlies won for the first time in eight road games against a Western Conference opponent this season. … The loss was Portland’s first at home to a team below .500 since falling to the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 12, 2008. Webster tied a career high with six 3-pointers.