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Portland edges out Memphis 97-93

03/22/12
  1. Written by: KevinHudson  / avg. rating: 4.5


    The Portland Trail Blazers bounced back from consecutive losses to edge out the Memphis Grizzlies Thursday, 97-93, in front of 20,636 at the Rose Garden.

    It was the first time this season that the Trail Blazers have come from behind after three quarters to win a game in the Rose Garden.

    The crowd showed its appreciation of the effort with a deafening roar as the team held on down the stretch to get the win.

    “It felt good, it felt really good,” said Jamal Crawford of the fans’ reaction. “It reminded me of the beginning and the times we had really big wins against good teams. Hopefully we can see more of that but that’s on us to go out and perform.”

    Despite holding a 5-point halftime lead, Portland (22-25) trailed 69-66 after scoring just 17 points in the third quarter, and an OJ Mayo 17-foot jumper put the Trail Blazers down 5-points mere seconds into the final stanza.

    Wesley Matthews responded for Portland with a three-pointer from the right wing on a dish from Nicolas Batum in the corner. Crawford followed that with two free throws and 15-foot turnaround jumper for a 7-0 run and Portland was ahead, 73-71, with 10 minutes remaining in the contest.

    "It’s a game of runs. Our resolve needed to be what it needed to be tonight," said Portland coach Kaleb Canales. "That’s a good team out there. Coach Hollins and his staff do a great job, they’re talented from top to bottom. So it’s a good team win for us."

    The Trail Blazers led the rest of the way, pushing the advantage to seven points twice: on a LaMarcus Aldridge putback with 7:29 to play and again on Raymond Felton’s three-point play the old-fashioned way with 3:27 remaining.

    Memphis (25-20) pushed to close the gap by hitting some shots late but Portland converted its free throws to hang on for the final margin.

    Portland hit 25-of-25 from the charity stripe on the night, its most prolific combined free throw performance since going 30-for-30 at the Indiana Pacers Nov. 30, 1986. They are the first team in the league to make 25 free throws without a miss this season and are second in the league in free throw percentage at 79.4 percent.

    Batum led all scorers with 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting, followed by Matthews with 18 points and a game-high tying nine rebounds.

    Aldridge added 16 points, five rebounds and for the second night in a row Felton came within one assist of a double-double, notching nine assists to go with 13 points and four boards.

    Crawford led Portland’s reserves with 17 points, including 10-of-10 from the free throw line, as the Trail Blazers bench outscored Memphis’ reserves 26-17.

    All five Memphis starters scored in double figures, led by Marc Gasol with 22 points and nine rebounds.

    Next, the Trail Blazers head to Los Angeles for a Friday night tilt with the Lakers, 7:30 p.m., at the Staples Center.The game can be seen locally on KGW, Channel 8. 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

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