Memphis (6-4) suffered from a lapse in defense on Sunday against Los Angeles, allowing the Lakers to hit 47% of their shots. The Grizzlies were also outrebounded by the Lakers 55-45. Tyreke Evans was the high scorer for Memphis with 26 points and has managed 20 or more points in three straight games, raising his season average to 17.1 points per game. Mike Conley, the leading scorer this season for Memphis, scored 23 points and raised his average to 18.3 points per game. The Grizzlies started the season 5-1 but have gone 1-3 since, and will be looking to turn things around on Tuesday night.
Portland were strong on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court in beating the Thunder Sunday, shooting 50% from the floor. The Trail Blazers out-rebounded Oklahoma 56-43, while Damian Lillard, the leading scorer for Portland, continued to impress with 36 points and 13 assists. Lillard has scored 30 points or more in four straight games and holds a 27.1 points-per-game average after ten games this season. Jusuf Nurkic, Portland’s 7-foot center, scored 25 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. The Trail Blazers are winners of two straight and are scoring 107.2 points per game, while allowing 100.9.
Three keys to the game
Memphis’ scoring – Memphis are having problems scoring as they have managed 99 points or less in five of their past eight games and will be facing a Portland defense that limited the high-scoring Thunder to just 99 points.
Portland’s backcourt – Portland have one of the league’s top backcourt duos in Lillard and C. J. McCollum. Lillard is leading the team in scoring, assists and steals, while McCollum is second in scoring and third in assists and steals. How Memphis are able to defend this duo will affect the game’s outcome.
Tyreke Evans – Evans has scored 20 points or more in three straight games for Memphis and during that span is averaging 26 points while shooting 59.2% from the field. His offensive output has taken pressure off veterans Conley and Marc Gasol, and made it much more difficult for defenses to stop the Memphis offense.
Matchup to watch
Marc Gasol vs Jusuf Nurkic – Gasol will be a game-time decision due to an ankle injury, but is expected to play. If he does, he’ll have to nullify Nurkic, who has turned into a game changer for the Trail Blazers. The Bosnian center started slowly but over his past three games is averaging 24 points, 8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.7 blocks. He has also brought much-needed defense to the low post for the Trail Blazers. With Gasol not being 100%, this matchup could be the key to the outcome of the game.
Grizzlies projected starting lineup
PG – Mike Conley | SG – Dillon Brooks | SF – James Ennis | PF – Jarell Martin | C – Marc Gasol
Trail Blazers projected starting lineup
PG – Damian Lillard | SG – C. J. McCollum | SF – Maurice Harkless | PF – Noah Vonleh | C – Jusuf Nurkic
Lillard can’t be ignored given his recent form. The Portland point guard is scoring in bunches and managed 36 points and 13 assists in a game-winning effort against the Thunder on Sunday. Over the Trail Blazers’ recent four-game stretch, Lillard is averaging 34.3 points per game.
The game should be close, with the solid defense of Memphis looking to suffocate a strong Portland offense. The Trail Blazers are 3.5-point favorites at home and should cover that number against a travel-weary Memphis side.
Portland will tire out the Memphis legs late, which will be enough for them to win, 103-98.
The game will be televised on NSNW and Fox Sports Southeast. Tip-off is at 10:00 pm ET from the Moda Center.
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