Posted March 13, 2013 on
AP on Fox
Zach Randolph returned from an ankle injury with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies won their fifth straight game with a 102-97 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
Marc Gasol had 20 points for the Grizzlies, who have won 13 of their last 14 games and sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. Mike Conley added 14 points and a career-high 15 assists, and Memphis matched its season high with 31 assists overall.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, whose playoff hopes are slipping away. Rookie Damian Lillard had 27 points.
Memphis (43-19) led by as many as 15 points in the second half but the Blazers closed the gap to 79-72 after Lillard's 3-pointer and a pair of free throws from Aldridge.
Eric Maynor's 3-pointer with 3:49 left narrowed Memphis' lead to 83-78, but Tayshaun Prince answered with a 3-pointer for the Grizzlies.
Portland kept up the pressure, pulling within 89-84 on a pair of free throws from Maynor with 1:21 to go, but Conley came back with a short jumper and Portland was unable to catch up.
The Grizzlies trailed the Blazers by as many as 17 points in the third quarter last Wednesday before winning 91-85.
Portland (29-34) returned home after a 1-2 road trip, including the loss at Memphis. The Blazers are four games back of Los Angeles for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Randolph had missed the past four games with a sprained left ankle. Coach Lionel Hollins said before the game he planned to start Randolph, a former Trail Blazer, but wasn't sure of the minutes he would play. Randolph showed no lingering effects from the injury.
Portland rookie Meyers Leonard also returned after missing a game with a sprained right ankle.
The Blazers went up 21-17 late in the first quarter on Lillard's 3-pointer, but they struggled to extend the lead any further. Memphis made its move, going on an 11-2 run midway through the second quarter to go up 36-29 after Ed Davis' running hook shot.
The Grizzlies had a 48-40 lead at the break, shooting nearly 54 percent from the floor.
There was a lot of jawing back-and-forth between the teams, particularly between former teammates Randolph and Aldridge.
Randolph played in Portland his first six seasons in the league. He and Aldridge were together for just one season, when Aldridge was a rookie in 2006-07. Randolph was traded to the Knicks in the offseason.
Gasol's 20-foot jumper gave Memphis a 57-47 lead with seven minutes to go in the third quarter. Gasol hit another long jumper that pushed it to 64-51.
Portland was coming off a 98-96 loss at New Orleans on Sunday. The Grizzlies defeated the Hornets the day before.
Notes: The teams split the previous two meetings this season, both in Memphis. They meet once more on April 3 at the Rose Garden.
BEST OF MAXIM
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