The two Western Conference teams clashed on Friday in the first game of their two-game mini-series. In a high-scoring affair, Ja Morant outdueled Damian Lillard to help the Memphis Grizzlies eke out a 130-128 victory.
Scoring 33 points to go along with 13 assists on the night, Morant helped the Memphis Grizzlies snap a two-game skid. Meanwhile, Lillard could be hungry to provide a riposte after the Portland Trail Blazers slumped to their fourth defeat in as many games.
Fixture: Memphis Grizzlies vs Portland Trail Blazers Prediction - NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Sunday, April 25th, 2021; 4:00 PM ET (Monday; 1:30 AM IST).
Venue: Moda Center, Portland, OR.
Memphis Grizzlies Preview
The Memphis Grizzlies are firmly in the reckoning for the playoffs, going 30-28 on the season in a stacked Western Conference. Taylor Jenkins' side are eighth in their conference, 1.5 games behind the seventh-placed Portland Trail Blazers.
The Memphis Grizzlies will be beaming with confidence after Friday's win as the race for the postseason heats up.
Besides Ja Morant, the Grizzlies witnessed stellar outings from Dillon Brooks (25 points) and Jaren Jackson Jr. (23 points) en route their 30th win of the season. Nevertheless, winning two games in a row against the Portland Trail Blazers could prove to be a difficult task for the men in blue.
Key Player - Ja Morant
Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant put on a clinic against the Portland Trail Blazers, putting up a 33-point performance. He also scored 11 of 17 from the field, doing so with a stellar 64.7% shooting display. The 2019-20 All-Rookie also added a season-high 13 assists on the night.
''We know what we're capable of every night. We've just got to go out there with a lot of energy for 48 minutes,'' said Morant after the game. ''Offensively, we're going to score the ball, so as long as we are locked in on the defensive end and get stop,s we're going to always put ourselves in a position to win the game.''
The sophomore is averaging 19.4 points, 7.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 50 appearances for the Memphis Grizzlies this season. He is shooting the ball at 45.5% from the floor and 29.1% from beyond the arc.
Memphis Grizzlies Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Ja Morant; Shooting Guard - Grayson Allen; Small Forward - Dillon Brooks; Power Forward - Kyle Anderson; Center - Xavier Tillman.
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers have cooled off in recent games, losing eight of their last ten matches. Coach Terry Stotts has his work cut out for him as he endeavors to bring his team back to winning ways as the regular season approaches a conclusion.
Despite their loss, the Portland Trail Blazers played well against the Memphis Grizzlies. Damian Lillard bounced back from a slow start to finish strong, scoring 27 points and five assists in an extended 37 minutes from the floor. Lillard got ample support from CJ McCollum (22 points) and Jusuf Nurkic (26 points, 17 rebounds), but the trio failed to secure the win for their team.
The Portland Trail Blazers will hope to return to winning ways to avoid slipping further down the Western Conference standings ahead of the play-in tournament. Evening out their season series with a win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday could give them a boost.
Key Player - Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard could be a key player against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Portland Trail Blazers star is in a shooting slump but has still managed to register five 20+ point outings in his past six appearances.
Dame Dolla will need to thread the needle in late-game scenarios to turn the tide in the Trail Blazers' favor once again. Lillard has played 54 games for the Portland Trail Blazers this season, averaging 28.5 points per game on 43.7% shooting from the floor. The ninth-year guard has also tallied 7.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds per contest this campaign.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Damian Lillard; Shooting Guard - CJ McCollum; Small Forward - Norman Powell; Power Forward - Robert Covington; Center - Jusuf Nurkic.
Grizzlies vs Trail Blazers Match Prediction
Despite winning on Friday, the Memphis Grizzlies will enter this matchup as underdogs. Nevertheless, Ja Morant could deliver another rousing performance and inspire the Memphis Grizzlies to victory.
Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers will rely on their high-octane offense to eke out a favorable result in this game. The men in black will look to Damian Lillard to guide them to victory at home.
This game could be decided by the winner of the duel between Lillard and Morant in the backcourt. A monster outing from Dame Dolla could be on the cards in Sunday's contest.
Considering their better recent form, the Portland Trail Blazers are expected to emerge victorious on Sunday.
Where to watch Grizzlies vs Trail Blazers?
The game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trail Blazers will be telecast on NBC Sports Northwest (Trail Blazers) and Bally Sports Southeast-Memphis. Fans can also live stream the game with an NBA League Pass.