Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#2575 Memphis Grizzlies vs.
#2576 Portland Trail Blazers
Friday, April 23, 2021 at 10:05pm EDT
Moda Center, Portland
Written by Jordy

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The Portland Trail Blazers hope to avoid a late season collapse in Friday’s showdown with the visiting Memphis Grizzlies. Not even Damian Lillard being back on the floor could save the Trail Blazers from a 106-105 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. They have now lost five of their last six games. We’ll see if they can turn things around against a Grizzlies team coming off back-to-back losses to the Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers.

Grizzlies headed in the wrong direction

Wednesday’s loss to the Clippers was as bad as it gets for Memphis.

They got blown out on the road in a game where they didn’t even have to face Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Imagine getting blown up by Luke Kennard and tumbling to 29-28 on the season. It’s a loss that could come back to haunt them in the playoff race.

It won’t be easy turning it around against another possible contender in the Trail Blazers on Friday night. You can rest assured they’ll find a bigger offensive headache against a team with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in the backcourt.

Ja Morant is talented, but Lillard is transcendent.

The Grizzlies will also be playing without center Jonas Valanciunas, who is a big reason why the team is ranked top-10 in rebounding. His absence down low could open up an opportunity for Enes Kanter and Jusuf Nurkic to feast on the boards for Portland.

Defense has especially been a problem for the Grizzlies considering they have allowed 115-plus points in their last four straight games. They face an uphill battle in a road meeting against one of the top-scoring offenses in the league.

Dame Time needed in Portland

The Trail Blazers need saving right now, and there’s only one man capable of doing it.

Damian Lillard.

They desperately need one of those ridiculous offensive performances from their star guard to pull them out of the dumps of a three-game losing streak. For a team that’s already slumping defensively, they haven’t been recording the gaudy offensive numbers on the other end of the floor. Of course, they should have an opportunity to change that against the Grizzlies on Friday night.

Memphis is allowing an average 123.7 points in their last three games. It has been a mess for the Grizzlies in the last stretch of the season. Portland is more than capable of blowing past them in an offensive shootout if Dame Time commences. The perennial All-Star is averaging 28.6 points per game this season and shooting 37.5 percent from 3-pointer.

Things haven’t changed much for the team defensively, and they’re going to have to accept the fact that it’ll probably be a weakness the rest of the way. But the Trail Blazers have an explosive enough backcourt to deem it irrelevant due to their ability to score with the best of them.

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The Grizzlies falling on the road to a star-less Clippers team is concerning considering how important every game is at this point in the season. They are barely clinging to the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings with the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs breathing down their neck. It was a greatly missed opportunity.

And now they have to deal with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

The Trail Blazers are currently ranked seventh in the league in offensive efficiency with the team averaging 114.1 points per game. They’ll come into Friday’s game desperate to avoid a fourth consecutive loss.

Jonas Valanciunas being out for the Grizzlies is a huge loss as well as it limits their ability to dominate on the boards. Portland hasn’t been the best rebounding team in the league, but the void for Memphis creates some hope that Enes Kanter and Jusuf Nurkic can be competitive on the glass.

However, this game will be all about Lillard and McCollum putting on a fireworks show to get the Trail Blazers back in the win column. I’m laying the points and taking Portland.

Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers (-3.5)

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The Grizzlies have looked terrible defensively in recent outings. Granted, they’ve stepped things up on the offensive end of the floor, but they clearly can’t stop the bleeding on the other end. Not having their star big-man Jonas Valanciunas on the court on Friday won’t help matters, either. Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers are due an offensive explosion after several quiet nights on the floor. Damian Lillard isn’t someone you want to face on the court when he’s backed into a corner. He’ll come out as a cold-blooded assassin with his team on the brink of a fourth consecutive loss. Give me the under in this one.

Prediction: Over (232.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.