Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trailblazers Game Preview

Feb 1, 2023 - 2:20 PM
NBA: <a href=Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers" src="" />
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

WHO: Portland Trailblazers (24-26, 10-15 on road) at Memphis Grizzlies (31-18, 21-3 home)

WHEN: 6:00 PM CT

WHERE: FedEx Forum

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis


MEMPHIS: Desmond Bane (Questionable, Knee), Danny Green (Questionable, Knee), Steven Adams (Out, Knee), John Konchar (Questionable, Concussion protocol),

PORTLAND: Ibou Badji (Out, Knee), Greg Brown III (G League Assignment), Justise Winslow (Out, Knee), Jusuf Nurkic (Probable, Hamstring), Josh Hart (Probable, Calf)


MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke

PORTLAND: Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, Jusuf Nurkic, Jerami Grant

It is Game Day once again for the Memphis Grizzlies.

In a bit of a unique schedule setup, the Grizzlies welcome the Portland TrailBlazers to the Fedex Forum. The Grizzlies had two full off-days between home games following their win over the Pacers on Sunday, but will back-to-back games between today and tomorrow. After traveling to Cleveland for tomorrow night’s game, the Grizzlies will have another two off-days to enjoy.

Of course, while this part of the schedule is a bit rare, it is needed. After a tough five game road trip without any wins, the Grizzlies had a great second half performance against Indiana to get the win on Sunday. The main reasons for the win were due to Memphis’s stars taken over, as Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. were exceptional. Tonight also could bring the returns of Desmond Bane and John Konchar after a few games away, plus the season debut of Danny Green. Depth could certainly bring more options for the Grizzlies to utilize against the Blazers.

Over their past 20 games, the TrailBlazers are 7-13 after a pretty strong start to the season. However, they have won 3 of their last 4, and clear reason why is due to another historic span of scoring from Damian Lilliard. “Dame Time” has been been exceptional as of late, averaging 38.8 points, including nearly 5 threes per game. In recent years, the Grizzlies have done a decent job of limiting Lillard to inefficient nights from the field. However, with how special he has been as of late, the Grizzlies will have their hands full preventing him from taking over for stretches of the game.

Beyond Dame, here are few points of emphasis for the Grizzlies to get a second win in a row:

Outside of Dame, Make Sure it Is No One Else’s Time

While containing Damian Lillard is the top priority, containing Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant should also be a focus for Memphis. Both players have plated well over the past week to support Portland’s recent success, and both players have had good success at times against Memphis in the past. A big defensive key for the Grizzlies is balancing defending Dame while also not allowing Grant or Simons to get hot.

Of course, Jusuf Nurkic also looks large. Nurkic always seems to perform better than expected against Memphis, and without Steven Adams, his rebounding could once again create problems for the Grizzlies. A bit effort from Brandon Clarke and Xavier Tillman, especially with the hope of letting Jaren Jackson Jr. roam free, while be needed to contain Nurkic.

Perimeter Production

The potential availability of Bane, Green, and Konchar could be a big boost to the Grizzlies shooting depth, as Memphis is 22nd in threes per game when considering the last 10 games of every NBA team. With how Portland is playing offensively, it will take more than Ja and Jaren to get the job done tonight. That includes a quality shooting effort from the roster.

Meanwhile, over their last 10 games, Portland is shooting 40.3% from beyond the arc and making 14.7 threes per game. Lillard is a big reason for the success, and the roster as a whole clearly is hitting theirs shots. The Grizzlies improved three-point defense must rise to the occasion once again.

If you are a fan off offense, then tonight is certainly going to be a fun game to witness. While Portland may attempt to hit threes early and often, the Grizzlies must remain true to themselves. And in a game where late stops will be important, the Grizzlies are better team to do exactly that. Hopefully, Memphis will have their own success from three, and get a big victory against a Western Conference opponent.

Final: Grizz 127 Portland 120

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