The Portland Trail Blazers may be seeing a ray of light right now, and that would be something for the Memphis Grizzlies to worry about. After losing seven straight games to Memphis, Portland was able to stay alive on Monday night with a 99-92 victory on its own home floor, using a 31-17 fourth-quarter to get it done. The Blazers trailed by 10 points with eight minutes left, but they were desperate, and they played like that kind of team. Memphis will continue to play without its starting point guard, as NBA playoff betting picks action gets underway at 9:35 PM ET at the FedEx Forum in Memphis.
Mike Conley was missing from the Memphis lineup on Monday, as he had surgery to repair bones in his face that were smashed as a result of an inadvertent elbow thrown by CJ McCollum of the Blazers. Because Conley is such a defensive stalwart, it is very difficult to replace him when it comes to dealing with the likes of Damien Lillard. And that was very much in evidence; Lillard was just a 27% shooter in the first two games of the series, but he has come back pretty strong, chalking up 22 points in Game at 3 and an outstanding 32 points in Game 4. He is getting a lot of support from McCollum, who has suddenly come alive, coincidentally after dealing Conley the accidental blow. McCollum has shot 61.5% in his last two games, and he is attacking the basket in a way which has made Memphis coach Dave Joerger very uncomfortable.
Portland is going to make a serious attempt at becoming that rarity – in fact, the only team in NBA annals to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series – they’re going to have to get a better performance out of LaMarcus Aldridge, their All-Star power forward who is likely to leave as a free agent after these playoffs are over. Aldridge has constantly been pushed away from his best spots by the Memphis defense, and once again was flustered on Monday, as he shot just 6-22. He is shooting only 34% for the series, and it is really hard to find any path to a winning formula when that is happening.
BetAnySports customers also cannot ignore the fact that Memphis has just been dominant over a long period of time against Portland. They had won seven straight meetings until the Blazers came up with that great fourth-quarter run in Game 4 of this series, and Portland has also most of the last six games it has played in Memphis. Now, on the other side of the coin, Marc Gasol has not had a tremendous time of it shooting out of the pivot for the Grizzlies, with just a 37.5% accuracy rate. Maybe there is a lot of upside there; maybe there isn’t. But along with Randolph, Memphis’ two big guys down low shot just 13-36 in the last game.