- Sports & Recreation
- Damian Lillard
- Nicolas Batum
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By Kerry Eggers, The Sports Xchange April 4, 2013 12:50 AM
PORTLAND -- Mike Conley scored 20 points as Memphis led wire-to-wire in a 94-76 thumping of Portland Wednesday night at the Rose Garden. Zach Randolph added 17 points and eight assists for the Grizzlies (51-24), who won their fourth straight game. The victory kept Memphis in a tie for third place with Denver in the Western Conference playoff race. The Nuggets beat Utah 113-96 Wednesday night. JJ Hickson totaled 17 points and nine rebounds and Damian Lillard had 17 and six assists for the Trail Blazers (33-42), who dropped their sixth game in a row. Memphis shot .507 from the field, won the rebound battle 37-30 and took advantage of 19 turnovers by the Blazers, who were without injured starting forwards LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum. Eleven Grizzlies got into the scoring act, including Ed Davis, who had 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting to go with 10 rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench. Portland cut a 62-46 deficit early in the third quarter to 63-56. Then Memphis used a 9-0 spurt to make it 72-56; the margin was 77-64 heading into the final period. The Blazers got no closer than 11 points the rest of the way. Memphis shot .611 in seizing a 57-46 lead at halftime. Conley and Tony Allen each scored 12 points for the Grizzlies, who were on top 32-21 after one quarter and led by as many as 18 points in the half. Hickson had 11 points and Matthews and Lillard 10 apiece for the Blazers, who shot .487 from the field but made only 3 of 11 3-point attempts and committed nine turnovers in the half. NOTES: Aldridge missed his fourth straight game with a sprained ankle. Batum aggravated a shoulder injury at Utah Monday night. ... Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said newly signed veteran guard Keyon Dooling "may get into the game tonight," but that rookie guard Tony Wroten (migraine) won't play. ... The Blazers' starting lineup includes three rookies -- point guard Damian Lillard, forward Victor Claver and center Meyers Leonard. ... Aldridge appears a good bet to return to action against Houston on Friday, but Batum might be held out awhile. ... Memphis coach Lionel Hollins on the Blazers' injury situation: "That's their issue. I have to worry about my team and how we go out and play. We've won games at less than full strength and other teams have done the same thing." ... The Blazers, who have lost five in a row and dropped out of the playoff race, will also use rookies Joel Freeland and Will Barton more the rest of the season. "I want to be competitive," coach Terry Stotts said. Portland's rookies "will get more of a learning experience. What I'm looking for is how we play, and if we're doing things the way we want. It's a good teaching environment. We want to make the most of these last eight games." ... The Grizzlies are battling with Denver and the Los Angeles Clippers for the third, fourth and fifth playoff spots in the West. How important is homecourt advantage in the first round? "We had it last year and it didn't mean anything," said Hollins, referring to the Grizzlies' first-round ouster by the Clippers. "It's about playing well when we get to the playoffs. Wherever we wind up, we wind up. We're going to try to win games while resting guys some, but without sitting them out."