Game 3 of this first round matchup is set to tip at 10:30pm (EST). Memphis leads the series 2-0.
What Portland is going to do
LaMarcus Aldridge has been playing great this series, averaging 28 points and 14 rebounds in the first two games. I’d expect him to continue to provide some hope for the Trail Blazers as they try to win one at home. Besides Aldridge, no one else on the team has been stepping up. Damian Lillard, as mentioned in the Game 2 recap, has really been struggling with his shot but knowing how he plays we should expect to see that type of play be in the past. For the rest of the team, its as simple as this, they need to step up. Wesley Matthews won’t be back, Arron Afflalo is still dinged up so the young guys like C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe and Meyers Leonard need to play great team basketball in order to give their season some hope.
What Memphis is going to do
The Grizzlies have been playing the definition of team basketball. They had 21 team assists in Game 1 and 19 assists in Game 2 so that is a key stat to look at tonight. The “Bruise Brothers” as Tony Allen likes to call them have been playing great together both being double-double machines. Tony Allen also has to get some recognition. He did not start in Game 1 but in Game 2 he started and locked down Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. If he is expected to start tonight, Jeff Green will come of the bench to give them that spark in certain parts of the game. Let’s also not forget Mike Conley who is also expected to have a great battle with Lillard in this game tonight.
Bottom line: it comes down to two things — the bench of Portland or the defense of the Grizzlies. In order for one of these teams to win, they need to improve on those things stated above. This should be a good matchup and the advantage should go to Portland tonight since it will be the first game for them in their home arena and the fans will definitely be going crazy.