----- Ja Morant scored 33 points and dished out 13 assists and Dillon Brooks scored 25 as the Memphis Grizzlies handed the Protland Trail Blazers a troubling 130-128 defeat Friday night at Moda Center.
Ja Morant scored 33 points and dished out 13 assists and Dillon Brooks added 25 as the Memphis Grizzlies sent the Portland Trail Blazers to their fourth-straight loss 130-128 Friday night at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.
Damian Lillard led Portland (32-27) with 27 points and Jusuf Nurkic had his best game of the season with 26 points, 17 rebounds, and five assists in a losing effort.
The Trail Blazers have now lost six of their last seven games.
Memphis controlled the game in the paint with 74 points and dominated transition points with a 29-7 edge.
“Well, as far as the fourth quarter goes, we got the lead and they had two transition baskets after makes and you know that can't happen,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “They pushed the pace on us the entire game. Obviously, we didn't shoot the ball well from three in the fourth quarter, but that wasn't the reason we lost.
“We really didn't take away their transition at all for most of the night, and that, in the fourth quarter, I think, made the difference.”
Nurkic's dunk gave the Blazers a 116-115 lead, but Jaren Jackson Jr.'s layup put the Grizzlies back in front with 5:20 left.
It was a back and forth affair the rest of the way. Morant's layup put Memphis up 125-123. He missed the first of a pair of free throws before Norman Powell's layup got the Blazers within a point with 45.9 seconds left.
The Blazers got the ball with 10.7 seconds left and 2.1 on the shot clock, but Nurkic air balled a shot under the basket. De'Anthony Melton made free throws at the other end, giving Portland 3.6 seconds left for a 3-pointer to tie it.
Lillard was fouled and made his first free throw but his second rimmed out and Portland ran out of time.
Up Next- The Trail Blazers will host the Memphis Grizzlies again on Sunday Afternoon at Moda Center. The game is scheduled to tip off at 1:00 PM.
Chad's Take- Playoffs no longer a certainty for the Blazers.