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Gasol, Randolph lead Grizzlies past Blazers 109-99

  • Article by: CLAY BAILEY
  • Associated Press
  • March 11, 2014 - 9:50 PM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Marc Gasol scored 19 points, Zach Randolph added 18 points and 12 rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies solidified their hold on the final Western Conference playoff spot with a 109-99 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Mike Conley added 17 points and Courtney Lee finished with 16, including helping the Grizzlies extend their lead in the third quarter. Mike Miller had 14 for Memphis, which won its third straight.

Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 32 points on 8-of-21 shooting from the field, but connecting on 12 of 13 free throws. LaMarcus Aldridge had 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Nicolas Batum contributed 15 points for Portland, which lost its third straight.

Memphis built its lead to double-digits early in the fourth quarter and Portland cut it under double digits — to nine — on only two occasions the rest of the way.

With the victory, Memphis now holds a one-game lead over the idle Phoenix Suns for the final playoff spot in the West.

Gasol and Randolph helped Memphis control the paint 54-36, but Portland managed a 41-40 edge on the boards, including 16 offensive rebounds leading to a 19-5 margin on second-chance points. But Portland struggled from the field, connecting on 41 percent for the game. In addition to Lillard's percentage, Aldridge was 8 of 23 and Batum was 5 of 13. Wesley Matthews managed only one field goal on seven attempts.

The Grizzlies shot 56 percent for the game, including making 6 of 12 from outside the arc.

Memphis shot well in the first half, ending at 57 percent for a 54-47 lead at the break. The Grizzlies' impact was in the paint, where they held a 32-24 edge. Gasol had 13 points and Randolph 10 at halftime.

Portland was close despite shooting 41 percent, but was able to gather 10 second-chance points on nine offensive rebounds.

Lillard had 11 points and Aldridge 10 for Portland.

The game was close for much of the first half with nine lead changes, but Memphis did take the lead to 12 before settling for its halftime margin after Portland scored the final five points of the half.

Memphis stretched the lead back to 15 to open the second half, and kept the advantage through the middle stages of the quarter hitting 9 of 15 their initial shots in the third, while Portland managed only 5 of 16 over the same span.

At that point, Lillard and Aldridge were both 5 of 14 from the field in the game.

Lee was the catalyst for Memphis, scoring 13 in the quarter.

But the Trail Blazers closed the stanza on a 10-4 run to cut the lead to 78-69 entering the fourth. After Nick Calathes connected on a 3-pointer to open the fourth period, Memphis had its double-digit lead.

NOTES: Memphis has won five straight in the series. ... Memphis now leaves on a three-game road trip as the FedExForum hosts the American Athletic Conference tournament beginning Wednesday. ... Portland F Will Barton, who played at the University of Memphis, got in for the final minute of the game. ... Five of the previous seven games in the series decided by six points or less.

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