PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Ja Morant had 33 points and 13 assists, and the Memphis Grizzlies handed the Portlandon Friday night.
Dillon Brooks added 25 points for Memphis, which snapped a two-game losing streak.
Damian Lillard overcame a slow start and finished with 27 points, and Jusuf Nurkic added 26 points and a season-high 17 rebounds. Portland has lost six of its last seven.
Neither team was able to lead by double digits. The Grizzlies had a 100-99 edge heading into the final period.
Nurkic’s dunk gave thelead, but Jaren Jackson Jr.’s layup put the Grizzlies back in front with 5:20 left. Lillard made the second pair of free throws to tie it at 117 before Nurkic’s layup.
The teams wrestled for the lead down the stretch. Morant’s layup put Memphis up 125-123. He missed the first of a pair of free throws before Norman Powell’s layup got the Blazers within a point with 45.9 seconds left. The Blazers got the ball with 10.7clock, but Nurkic missed a shot under the basket. De’Anthony Melton made free throws at the other end, giving Portland 3.6 seconds left for a 3-pointer to tie it.
Lillard was fouled and made his first free throw, but his second rimmed out, and Portland couldn’t catch up.
The Grizzlies were in the midst of a seven-game, the longest of the team’s Memphis-era. They’ll play the three times in the space of a week. After Friday’s game, the groups meet Sunday afternoon at the Moda Center again, then they off in Memphis next Wednesday.
and 62-56 at the break. Morant’s putback capped the half, and he led all scorers with 14 points.
Nurkic’s layup and a 3-pointer from CJ McCollum got Portland within 62-61 to start the second half.
Portland pulled in front 71-70 on Lillard’s layup, but he came down hard on the court and came up grimacing. It was just his second game back after akept him out for three games. He stayed in the game.
The Blazers couldn’t hold on to the lead, and Brooks’ running jumper gave the Grizzlies a 94-91 lead.
Grizzlies: Dillon Brooks played for the University of Oregon. … Thein late January, but the game was called off because of coronavirus protocol. Memphis did not have the league-required eight players for the game. … Memphis Center Jonas Valanciunas missed his third game because of .
Trail Blazers: Portland continued to run tests for when the team can, with a handful of people – mostly employees and family – sitting in socially distanced courtside seats across from the team benches. Among the “fans” in the stands was Lillard’s toddler son. Oregon still has not allowed spectators at indoor because of COVID-19.
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