Game 2 final: Memphis Grizzlies 97, Portland Trail Blazers 82 (Memphis 2-0)
In Game 1, it looked like one team actually wanted to be there and the other team was simply going through the motions. After a poor shooting performance in Game 1 (32-95 33.7%), Portland looked to bounce back but they failed to do so going 30-77 (39%). If they want to save their season, they need to improve on their shooting.
But let’s give credit to where credit is due. The Memphis Grizzlies have been playing great team basketball. The combination of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol has been huge so far. Here is what Tony Allen had to say about both players
“They took the initiative to say we’re going to be the Bruise Brothers, and they were the Bruise Brothers today.”
– Tony Allen on Randolph & Gasol
Guess we have a new nickname for the Grizzlies frontcourt. Not only have they played at a top level, but the entire team is playing fantastic from tip-off to the final horn. Tony Allen has been a nightmare for Damian Lillard, causing him to struggle with his shot (Lillard went 5-16 on all shots including 1-5 from downtown.) Mike Conley’s foot injury seems to not be bothering him anymore and Beno Udrih, who by the way the other Society member covering the series @AlecWalt calls him the X-Factor of the series, has been stepping up nicely for them off the bench.
Speaking of bench, both Alec and I mentioned earlier this week in our game preview that each team bench will play a heavy factor in the series. So far Memphis’ bench has been doing wonders, outscoring Portland’s bench 32-16. This has been a clear sign that Portland really misses Wesley Matthews and Arron Afflalo, who is still out with a shoulder injury. As for Memphis, they made the switch to start Tony Allen and have Jeff Green come off the bench and I think it will be a permanent switch for however long their playoff run should last.
Bottom line, what I saw last night was simply Portland did not want to be there. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the only good player in this series, scoring 24 last night. If this series ends sooner rather than later we could possibly see Aldridge walk. For Memphis, they need to focus on Game 3 in Portland which is a tough environment to play at. Damian Lillard has to step in order to even the series out and avoid the sweep because LaMarcus can not carry the load by himself.