|7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET3:00 GMT11:00 8:00 PM MST10:00 PM EST7:00 UAE (+1)04:0022:00 ET9:00 PM CTNaN:� , December 19, 2018
Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, Portland, Oregon Attendance: 19,412
Nurkic hopes to build on solid effort as Blazers take on Griz
Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers
- Memphis has lost three straight and five of the last six, scoring fewer than 100 points each game. The Grizzlies have failed to hit the 100-point mark in 15 games this season -- only the Bulls (16) have more games.
- Portland is shooting 38.3 percent from three in the first quarter, sixth best in the NBA. However, the Blazers are 30.1 percent from downtown in the second quarter, the third-largest decrease (8.2) from the first to second quarter in the NBA.
- Memphis beat Portland, 92-83, on December 12. It was the fewest points the Blazers have scored all season, while it is tied for the fewest points scored in a win for Memphis this season. Both teams have alternated in wins/losses for eight straight games.
- Omri Casspi dropped 20 points and grabbed six rebounds off the bench against the Warriors on Monday. It is the third game this season where a Grizzlies player had 20/5 off the bench (JaMychael Green on December 7, Jaren Jackson Jr. on October 19). They had two such games all of last season.
- Damian Lillard had 39 points against the Clippers on Monday, going 11-for-13 (.846) from the free-throw line. It was his sixth game this season with at least 30 points and 10 free throws made, fourth most in the NBA. He now has 200 made free throws on the season, fourth in the NBA.
- The Blazers have won two straight but allowed at least 120 points in both games. The last time they won back-to-back games despite allowing at least 120 points in each game was November 13-15, 1990.
- Warriors aim to close out Clippers in 5
- Jazz hope to force Game 6 vs. Rockets
- Lillard ousts OKC with 50, 3 at buzzer
- 76ers cruise past Nets, win series in 5
- Raptors rout Magic, wrap up series in 5
PORTLAND, Oregon -- For a game, at least, Jusuf Nurkic's shooting touch was back.
After making only 8 of 39 shots from the field in his previous three games, the 7-foot Bosnian was 8 for 12 in a 20-point, seven-assist performance as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 131-127 Monday night at Staples Center.
"I've got to trust my game," said Nurkic, who will start at center when the Trail Blazers (17-13) play host to the Memphis Grizzlies (16-14) Wednesday night at Moda Center. "I know how much I put the hard work in. (Bad shooting performances) happen sometimes. I had good looks and they didn't go down (in the previous three games). But I can affect the game in many different ways, not just scoring."
Nurkic's field-goal percentage had dipped to .479 -- poor for a post man, especially one with a solid shooting touch like Nurkic. He was much more on point Monday against the Clippers.
"It was good to see him get off to a good start," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "He was finishing around the basket. He'd had a rough three games as far as finishing. It was good to see him have the bounce in his game that he needs."
The Blazers could use Nurkic playing at the top of his game against Memphis, which features veteran center Marc Gasol. Gasol made only 4 of 15 shots from the field but contributed nine points, seven rebounds, six blocked shots and five assists in the Grizzlies' 92-83 win over the Blazers last Wednesday at FedEx Forum.
Memphis will need to do a better defensive job on Portland shooting guard CJ McCollum, who bombed in 40 points -- nearly half the Blazers' total -- in their last matchup.
The win over Portland was the only one in the last six outings for Memphis, which has lost three games in a row since then, including a 110-93 setback at Golden State Monday on the first stop of a four-game road trip. Mike Conley, who was terrific against the Blazers with 23 points, six rebounds and six assists, missed the Warriors game with a sore left hamstring and is questionable for Wednesday's affair in Portland.
"When you're as reliant on Mike as much as we are, it takes some time to adjust," Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters afterward. "But we did a better job in the second half of moving the ball and finding a way to score."
One of the Grizzlies who played well Monday was forward Omri Casspi, a former Warrior who knocked down 8 of 10 shots and scored a season-high 20 points in 20 minutes.
"Happy to play against my former team and teammates," Casspi said. "I love those guys, but it doesn't mean much. We lost and that's all that matters."
Portland and Memphis will continue to jockey for position in the crowded Western Conference race. After Monday's results, the Blazers were tied with the Clippers for fifth place in the conference, with the Grizzlies a game back in eighth place. Only seven games separate first-place Denver (20-9) and 14th-place Utah (14-17) in the conference standings.
Updated December 18, 2018