Grizzlies hold off Trail Blazers for a 120-113 victory


Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks, left, shoots over Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, April 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

PORTLAND, ORE. — If you like trash-talking, Ja Morant taking flight like an airplane, and Jonas Valanciunas comfortably shooting threes, well you would’ve enjoyed watching the Memphis Grizzlies take on the Portland Trail Blazers and coming away victorious, 120-113.

The Grizzlies started hot out of the gate leading Portland 10-2 in the first couple of minutes of the game. However, the Blazers would chip away at the Grizzlies’ lead throughout the first quarter, but the Grizzlies manage to lead by three at the end of the first.

Both teams struggled offensively to start the game. The second quarter the Grizzlies settled down and allowed the shots to fly, as they outscored Portland 35-27. There was a brief moment when the Grizzlies and Blazers were tied at 28 with about 9 minutes to go in the first-half.

Memphis would regain the lead and never looked back. Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said he liked the way his team took command and stayed in charge throughout the game.

“Our discipline was phenomenal for the entire game for the most part,” Jenkins said. “Obviously, we’re going to find areas to get better. But (we have to) continue to stay locked in, make sure we are communicating, and we’re finishing possessions with rebounds. “

The Grizzlies’ offense was in sync against the Blazers on Sunday afternoon. Four of the five starters for Memphis were in double-figures, led by Ja Morant, who had 28 points in 30 minutes of playing time, shooting 8-15 from the field. Additionally, he had 8 boards and 3 assists on the night.

One of the many notable plays by Morant was him continuing to show off his athleticism. After picking the pocket of Blazers’ Norman Powell, Morant in the open court flew through the sky for the reverse dunk.

After the game, Morant said everyone was clicking on all cylinders which helped them come away victorious in Portland.

“I feel like every punch that they threw, we threw a punch back and that allowed us to win the game,” Morant said.

It wasn’t just Morant, Jonas Valanciunas also displayed he’s not just a big man, but he is a long-distant cousin of the Splash Brothers, as JV continued to knock shots down from behind the arc.

Valanciunas three, three-pointers ties a single-game career high (done twice before, last time it was done was back on January 5, 2020 at Phoenix, according to the Grizzlies PR.

Dillon Brooks also turned up the heat against the Blazers, particularly in the second half. Brooks finished the night with 18 points and 8 rebounds.

Both Brooks and Portland’s Carmelo Anthony received offsetting technical fouls for chirping at one another. After the game, Brooks spoke about getting under the Blazers’ skin in this heated rivalry.

“I just play my game,” Brooks said. “I play hard. I try to do the talking to fuel me, put some challenges on me and try to uplift my team, every single night. Once I see it agitate (some guys).. then I know I’m winning. I just try to go out every night and give it my all.”

The Grizzlies will fly to the Mile High City and face the Denver Nuggets again. In their last meeting, the Nikola Jokic dropped 47 points and helped his team win a wild double-overtime thriller against Memphis.

Right now, the Grizzlies have won 8 of their last 11 road games and are 4-2 entering the final game of their season-long 7-game road trip Monday in Denver.

Tip-off for the Grizzlies and Nuggets is 8 p.m. Monday night.

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