Road-warrior Blazers look to close strong at Grizzlies
The Portland Trail Blazers look to conclude a seven-game road trip with one last victory.
Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies seek to rebound from an epic collapse.
Portland has recorded victories over the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers during its excursion, which it could complete with a 6-1 mark when it visits the Grizzlies on Tuesday night.
The Trail Blazers' lone loss on the trip was against Toronto on Friday, when Kawhi Leonard made the winning shot with three seconds left to give the Raptors a 119-117 victory.
Otherwise, Portland has left the building in happy moods and now shares the third-best record (39-24) in the Western Conference with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Memphis (25-40) doesn't want to hear any more chatter about the Thunder, not after letting a 13-point lead with 6 1/2 minutes left evaporate and watching Oklahoma City celebrate a 99-95 home victory on Sunday.
"It's unfortunate," shooting guard Avery Bradley told reporters afterward. "It showed because we just got together and we are a new team. We still don't know all of the plays at times."
Bradley, who was recently acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers, tallied 27 points and also recorded seven assists, five rebounds and two steals. He is averaging 17.4 points in nine games with the Grizzlies.
Standout point guard Mike Conley (general soreness) missed the Oklahoma City game, so Delon Wright was inserted into the starting lineup and tied his season high of 17 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists. Wright is averaging 9.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists in nine games since coming over from Toronto in the deal in which Marc Gasol went to the Raptors.
"Delon has been given a heck of an opportunity here," Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters after Sunday's loss. "We think he's a heck of a player. He's got a great future ahead of him, and to see him able to step up when Mike is out and carry the load from the point guard position was a positive for us."
Center Jonas Valanciunas, also acquired in the Gasol trade, has recorded a double-double in five of his seven appearances since joining the club.
Meanwhile, Portland received a surprise contribution from backup shooting guard Rodney Hood during Sunday's 118-108 win over Charlotte.
Hood scored a season-high 27 points -- all in the second half -- in 24 minutes while enjoying his best outing in 10 games since being acquired from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Hood scored five total points on 2-of-15 shooting over the previous three games before breaking out with a 9-of-14 performance against the Hornets to raise his average with Portland to 8.2.
"I've been through worse slumps before," Hood told reporters. "The biggest thing I did the second half was not think as much as I have. You know, trying to learn the plays, try to figure everything out. When we just play ball, I think I can affect the game in a positive way."
Hood's performance was timely, as starting shooting guard CJ McCollum had just six points on 2-of-13 shooting against Charlotte.
"Rodney Hood was terrific in the fourth quarter," Portland coach Terry Stotts told reporters. "It's good to see him get it going. ... He had been struggling some with his shot, so it was good to see."
McCollum exploded for 40 points -- matching a season high -- during a 92-83 road loss against the Grizzlies on Dec. 12. The Trail Blazers won the season's other matchup, 99-92 on Dec. 19 in Portland.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 4, 2019