Blazers Expect Arron Afflalo For Game 2 Vs. Grizzlies
The Portland Trail Blazers simply don’t match up well with big, slow-paced, physical Memphis Grizzlies, who have won all five meetings this season. Thus any shot the Blazers have of winning their first-round Western Conference series is to be at full health. That could be the case for Wednesday’s Game 2 in Memphis as Blazers shooting guard Arron Afflalo expects to play after missing Game 1. The Grizzlies are 6-point favorite at BetOnline with a total of 189.
Afflalo Ready To Go?
Afflalo was acquired at the Feb. 19 trade deadline from Denver and moved into the starting lineup when Wesley Matthews was lost for the season not long after the deal. Afflalo hurt his shoulder late in the season against Golden State and missed the final three games of the season. When seen after game 1 Afflalo was asked if he’d be good to go in Game 2, telling CSNNW.com, “Yeah, I’m good.”
Afflalo was listed as doubtful for Game 1, allowing CJ McCollum to replace him in the starting lineup. McCollum struggled in his first career playoff start, scoring only two points on 1-for-8 shooting. The Blazers could certainly use McCollum’s scoring off the bench, as the unit was outscored 33-21 in Game 1. Chris Kaman, Meyers Leonard and Allen Crabbe all finished with seven points each.
Grizzlies Rolled In Opener
The Grizzlies took Game 100-86 behind the best game of Beno Udrih’s career as he had 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists off the bench. He’s the first reserve to have those latter two numbers in the postseason since Nick Van Exel in May 10, 2003, for Dallas at Sacramento.
Opening the playoffs at home for just the second time in franchise history, Memphis won wire-to-wire and led by as many as 29 points in the third quarter, the Grizzlies’ largest-ever postseason lead. Udrih would make his first six shots and tally 13 points, three rebounds and three assists in just eight minutes in the first half to help the Grizzlies lead by 19 points (58-39) at halftime.
Memphis tied postseason records for points in a half and largest halftime lead. Marc Gasol (15 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists) and Zach Randolph (16 points, 11 rebounds) both posted double-doubles, while Mike Conley had 16 points after missing the final four games of the regular season with a right foot sprain. Tony Allen had four points, three rebounds, two assists and three steals in his return after a nine-game absence due to a left hamstring strain.
Portland’s All-Star duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard combined for 46 points and 22 rebounds but shot just 18-of-55 (.327) against a smothering Grizzlies defense. Aldridge went 13-of-34 from the field and set the Memphis postseason record for shot attempts by an opponent, topping Russell Westbrook’s 33 attempts in 2011. Lillard missed his first six attempts and was held to 5-of-21 overall. Portland shot just .337 from the field overall (32-of-95 FG), its lowest percentage of the season.
This is the first ever meeting between the Trail Blazers and Grizzlies in the playoffs. In playing Memphis in the first round, Portland will embark upon its fourth consecutive playoff matchup against a team from the Southwest Division. Memphis swept Portland in the 2014-15 regular season (four games). The last team to win a first round playoff series after being swept by that team in the regular season was the Hornets against the Hawks in the 1998 NBA Playoffs. Atlanta swept the regular season series, 4-0, before Charlotte took the postseason series three games to one.
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