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Trail Blazers 86, Grizzlies 84

The SportsXchange

MEMPHIS -- The Portland Trail Blazers held the Memphis Grizzlies to six points in the final nine minutes to help the Blazers post an 86-84 victory Friday night for their ninth win in 11 games.

It also was the Trail Blazers 14th win over Memphis in the past 18 games.

The Trail Blazers (17-15) were led by Wesley Matthews, who scored 21 points. J.J. Hickson added 19 and LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Marreese Speights, starting in place of Zach Randolph, led the Grizzlies (20-10) with 22 points and 13 rebounds, both season highs. Randolph missed his first game of the season because of flu-like symptoms. Rudy Gay scored 19 for the Grizzlies, but had only two in the second half and missed a potential game-tying basket at the buzzer.

The Grizzlies led 78-75 with 9:03 left, but went nearly five minutes without scoring.

Speights scored 12 of the Grizzlies' first 14 points to open the third quarter, giving Memphis a 64-58 lead. He finished with 16 in the quarter and his driving dunk, off a no-look pass from Marc Gasol, gave the Grizzlies a 70-64 lead with three minutes left. Portland battled back to tie the game at 72 at the end of three quarters.

After a slow start (the Grizzlies missed seven of their first eight shots), Memphis rode Gay's strong shooting to take a 50-47 lead at the half. Gay scored 10 in the second quarter and had 17 at halftime.

Playing without Randolph, one of the league's top rebounders, the Grizzlies were outrebounded 13-8 in the first quarter, but recovered in the second quarter to outrebound the Trail Blazers 12-5. The Grizzlies used a 9-0 run early in the second quarter to take a 38-32 lead, only to watch Portland match the run late in the quarter. Back-to-back baskets by Gay in the final minute allowed the Grizzlies to go up by three.

NOTES - Randolph had played in each of the team's 29 games before missing Friday night's game. Randolph ranks second in the NBA with a 12.3 rebounding average and he leads the league with 22 double-doubles. Speights, Randolph's replacement in the starting lineup, was averaging 6.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game before Friday. . . . Reserve guard Jerryd Bayless, who sprained his left ankle in Wednesday's 93-83 win at Boston, returned to action Friday. Bayless was injured early in the game at Boston and his absence forced point guard Mike Conley to play a season-high 44 minutes. . . . Former University of Memphis star Will Barton, in his rookie season with the Trail Blazers, entered the game to warm applause in the first half and scored four points.
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