Fixture - Memphis Grizzlies vs Portland Trail Blazers
Date & Time - Friday, 31st July 2020, 4 PM ET (1:30 AM IST the following day)
Venue - The Arena (WWOS), Orlando, Florida
Memphis Grizzlies Preview
Placed 8th in the Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies are in the drivers' seat for a play-in spot with a 3.5 game lead over the chasing pack. While they started off the season with low expectations, their relatively young team has held up to the challenge of making the playoffs remarkably.
A 1-2 record in the scrimmages notwithstanding, the Grizzlies look ready to roll. The injury absences of Tyus Jones and Jontay Porter will impact their chances in games to come.
The 20-year-old will be a mismatch for both Lillard and McCollum on offense with his athleticism. He has the tools to cause problems for them on D. His speed and pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop combinations with Jonas Valanciunas and Jaren Jackson Jr will be key to opening up the rest of their offense.
Memphis Grizzlies predicted lineup
Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr, Jonas Valanciunas
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
The Blazers will be hoping to have their star guard duo of Lillard and McCollum back - they were rested for their final scrimmage game. A number of injuries had derailed most of the Blazers' campaign, but they rallied for their playoff push in mid-January. They look poised to make a real run at the 8th seed.
The absences of Rodney Hood and Trevor Ariza will hurt, though. The likes of Carmelo Anthony and Mario Hezonja, with Gary Trent Jr, will have to pick up the slack.
The 6'1" combo guard will need to bring his A-game, given that the defensive excellence of Ja Morant will likely keep Lillard off his. McCollum has the handles, mid-range game and scoring touch to take the scoring load, but his ability to create will be the difference-maker in this clash.
Portland Trail Blazers predicted lineup
Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Gary Trent Jr, Jusuf Nurkic, Hassan Whiteside
Memphis Grizzlies vs Portland Trail Blazers
Neither the Memphis Grizzlies nor the Portland Trail Blazers got the types of outings they would have wanted in their 3 scrimmage games. The Blazers went 0-3, while the Grizzlies had one encouraging performance in the final game against the Heat that saved their faces with a 1-2 record.
The defining question of this game will be whether the Blazers will be able to defend the perimeter well enough against a team that loves transition. Lillard and McCollum will almost definitely get to their 20-25 point quota for the game, but they will need Nurkic and Whiteside to chip in with scoring to stand a chance.
The Memphis Grizzlies look like the more balanced team at current strength, though Dillon Brooks has blown hot and cold throughout the season. But Lillard's reliability in the 4th quarter makes the Portland Trail Blazers the favourites to win this game.
Where to Watch Memphis Grizzlies vs Portland Trail Blazers
This game will not be telecast on national TV networks. Fox Sports Tennessee and Fox Sports Oregon will be broadcasting it in the respective states.
It will be available on NBA League Pass for all subscribers, both in the USA and worldwide.
Published 30 Jul 2020, 23:00 IST