“It’s a very important game,” point guard Mike Conley told reporters ahead of the game. “It’s a must-win in my mind. It’s a must-win in my teammates’ mind. We can’t afford to lose games, especially at home. We’ve got to take care of business.”
They almost let it get away from them.
After entering the fourth quarter with a 79–70 lead, the Grizzlies saw their advantage slip in the fourth. Blazers guard C.J. McCollum poured in 10 of his 26 points in the closing 12 minutes, and Portland as a team shot 50% to Memphis’s 31.8%.
With under a minute to play and Memphis leading 97–93, Portland connected on four straight free throws to tie the game before Jeff Green hit a jumper to put it ahead by two. The Blazers responded when Al-Farouq Aminu hit a three-pointer to give Portland a 100–99 lead and set the stage for Zach Randolph to be the hero.
Randolph finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds, and has averaged nearly nine rebounds over his past five games.
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The Grizzlies improved to 4–6 and face the Timberwolves in Minnesota at 3:30 p.m ET on Sunday.
You can watch full highlights of Memphis’s victory below: