Portland vs Memphis

Portland+vs+Memphis

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Jennings, Reporter

The NBA playoffs started up this past week starring the league’s best sixteen teams. The matchup that Memphians will be watching is the Memphis Grizzlies vs. the Portland Trail blazers. The series started with Memphis since they won home court advantage in the regular season.

The Grizzlies swept the Trail Blazers during the course of the regular season, winning all four games they played against them. The Grizzlies have started off hot in the playoffs, too winning the first two games. To overcome this losing streak the Trail Blazers are using some new, questionable ways to pump themselves up. In their locker room the team had laminated sayings. One of these is “we don’t lose to Spanish players.” This is an obvious shot at Memphis starting center, Marc Gasol, who is from Spain.

The Trail Blazers had a few things to say about this occurrence. Their head coach, Terry Stotts, said, “it wasn’t meant to be out there. We should have taken it down.” He also explained it was supposed to be light hearted. Portland’s forward, Nicolas Batum, apologized for the comment. He said, “I apologize if I hurt some people. I have total respect for Marc Gasol.”

Marc Gasol commented on the writing by saying, “I don’t know where it comes from and I don’t know what it means. I have better things to think about than what they’re writing on the wall. They’ve had Spanish players on their team in the past. I can think of three in the recent past. I don’t know and I don’t care.” Zach Randolph also said that he did not even know of it. Obviously, this had no effect on the Grizzlies. They have dominated the entire series.

The Grizzlies got off to a hot start in game one and did not look back. Back up point guard, Beno Udrih, played extremely well and led the team with twenty points. He made his first six shots in the first quarter. Zach Randolph said, “Beno gets the game ball. With Mike (Conley) being out, helps him get his confidence up and playing.” Randolph also added 16 points and 11 rebounds, Mike Conley had 16 points and got some time to rest, and Marc Gasol had 15 points and 11 rebounds. For the Trail Blazers Lamarcus Aldridge dropped 32 points, but did not have much help from all-star Daminan Lillard or any other players.

The second game started off more balanced, but eventually the Grizzlies started to pull away. Lamarcus Aldridge had another decent game scoring 24 poitns and 14 rebounds. Damian Lillard was again a non-factor. Mike Conley and Courtney Lee had a balanced night each scoring 18 points. Marc Gasol also had 15 points.

The two teams will travel to Portland for two more games. They play again Saturday, April 25, at 9:30. The Grizzlies hope to win these next two games, sweep the Trail Blazers, and allow their players to rest especially Mike Conley and Tony Allen since they have been injured. The Trail Blazers plan to stop this losing streak and get on the board.