August 15: Memphis Grizzlies versus Portland Trailblazers
The Grizzlies finished the regular season 9th in the Western Conference at 34-39 and face the 8th seeded Trailblazers with a record of 35-39.
Memphis is coming off a win, while Portland has won their last three. The Trailblazers are a 7-point favorite with an over/under of 231 ½.
Memphis has a balanced scoring attack led by Ja Morant, averaging 17.8 points per game.
Jaren Jackson adds a deep threat, scoring 17.4 points per game while hitting 39 percent from three-point range.
Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke combine to add 28.3 points to the offensive output.
Big man Jonas Valanciunas cleans up underneath, averaging 14.5 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.
Grayson Allen is a bomber off the bench, hitting from beyond the arc at a 40 percent clip.
Damian Lillard has singlehandedly carried Portland while in the bubble.
For the season he is averaging 30 points and eight assists, all the while dropping 40 percent from three-point range.
C.J. McCollum provides 22.2 points and 38 percent from long range making the Trailblazers backcourt one of the best in the league.
Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside could give Memphis fits inside, combining fro nearly 33 points and 24 rebounds per game.
Carmelo Anthony adds 15 points per game, while Trevor Ariza and Rodney hood hit from over 40 percent from long range.
Comparing the overall team statistics, Portland has a scoring edge at 115 to 112.6 points per game.
The Grizzlies provide better defense, giving up 113.7 points per game versus 116.1 for the Trailblazers.
Portland is more efficient from beyond the arc and are among the best in taking care of the ball, averaging just 12.4 turnovers per game.
Memphis has the edge on the boards at 46.5 to 45.3 rebounds per game.
The teams split the meetings during the season.
Memphis won the first one, 111-104, and Portland took the second one in the bubble, 140-135 in overtime.
Portland is just too hot right now and while the Grizzlies can hang with them for some time, the Trailblazers will edge them at the end.
Portland has been averaging over 120 points over the last few games and their defense hasn’t been stellar, so Memphis will stick with them for much of the game
Look for Memphis to cover, but Portland to win in a game going over the line.