Originally written January 04, 2013 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Time to forget Toronto The Portland Trail Blazers are coming off one of the most disappointing losses of the season, and things aren’t getting any easier as they travel to Memphis to take on the surging Memphis Grizzlies. Matchup: Portland (16-15) @ Memphis Grizzlies (20-9) Venue: FedExForum Time: 5:00 PM PT Date: Friday, Jan. 4, 2012 Marc Gasol and Tony Allen are part of the reason Memphis excels on defense. (Photo: Danny Johnston/AP) Game Notes/How They Match Up It’s no secret that the Trail Blazers have won games this season with their offense. When they fail to score, their defense hasn’t been good enough to stop the charge on the other end of the floor. With a 16-15 record, they’ve clearly given up their fair share up games this season; but it’s been a rare occasion when they’ve played well offensively and still lost. Memphis, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. The Grizzlies are a tough, physical team that wins games on the defensive side of the court. They are the best team in the league at preventing their opponents from scoring, and they know how to win games that stay in the low-90′s or below. What to Watch: Portland When the Blazers shoot better than 45 percent from the field, they are virtually unbeatable. Unfortunately, they’re going up a defense that is first in the league in points allowed and gives up just 43 percent shooting on a nightly basis. The Blazers must have backup plans if the stars aren’t able to put the ball in the basket. Memphis has physical defenders who could trouble both Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard, and if those two go cold, they’re going to need someone to step up behind LaMarcus Aldridge. Look for that 45-percent mark to be a key factor in this game, and if Portland doesn’t reach it, they likely don’t escape with a win. What to Watch: Memphis One of the things that Memphis has to their advantage against most teams is size. As a result, they’re one of the more dangerous teams in the NBA when it comes to scoring in the paint. Through two months of play, they’re the seventh-best team in the league when it comes to scoring at the rim. Marc Gasol is a physical force on the block, Zach Randolph is crafty despite his lack of athleticism and forward Rudy Gay can finish with authority. For most teams, this is a problem they have to simply prepare for. For Portland, it’s something that could ultimately push the game out of their hands if Memphis dominates as the stats indicate they should. LaMarcus Aldridge will be matchup up against Zach Randolph. (Photo: The Oregonian) The Blazers have been the worst team in the league this season at defending the paint, and without Meyers Leonard available for the game, they’ll need to cross their fingers that the Grizzlies abort the plan that has gotten them where they are today. Key Matchup As it is every time these two teams face off, the key battle can be found when looking at the power forward position. Zach Randolph has become a Blazer-killer since leaving Rip City, and LaMarcus Aldridge will be given the unfortunate task of trying to contain a sure-fire double-double pl ayer at his own position. Luckily for Aldridge, Randolph has never been known as a defender. The Blazers’ big man will be able to take Randolph both inside and outside all game long. If his shot is falling, the offensive part of this battle will belong to him. The question, of course, is: can Aldridge keep up on the boards? We’ll find out Friday. Injury Report Portland: OUT—Meyers Leonard, DOUBTFUL—Sasha Pavlovic Memphis: DAY-TO-DAY—Jerryd Bayless, DOUBTFUL—Wayne Ellington Prediction The Blazers looked great against the New York Knicks and awful against the Toronto Raptors. How they’ll look against Memphis is anybody’s guess. Blazers 89 – Memphis 103 CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Belichick: Pats 'didn't play well enough at all' against Chiefs

Astros new manager A.J. Hinch: ‘Goal is to win championships’

Oakland Raiders fire Dennis Allen after 0-4 start

Did Roger Goodell’s bodyguard assault a photographer?

Kobe Bryant, Deron Williams engage in war of words

Georgia RB Todd Gurley falsely accused of punching student

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Russell Westbrook: "I'm the best point guard" in NBA

Texas WR takes shot at Baylor ahead of big game

Jim Harbaugh: Deion Sanders' report is 'a bunch of crap'

Bills bench E.J. Manuel, Kyle Orton to start

Report: Jovan Belcher likely had CTE

Carmelo: Leaving NY would be hard after I 'forced my way here'

NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

Strahan to make cameo as stripper in 'Magic Mike' sequel

Chiefs player penalized for praying after touchdown

Bill Belichick laughs off QB question...literally

Patriots fan fails with American flag face paint

Joe Fauria's new puppy is responsible for his ankle injury

LaRon Landry suspended four games for PED violation

NBA GMs on the hot seat

Rockets GM Daryl Morey fires back at Mark Cuban

The most and least improved hitters of 2014

WATCH: Tom Wilhelmsen dances to 'Turn Down for What'

Michigan student newspaper calls for Brady Hoke's firing

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

Raiders fire Dennis Allen after 0-4 start

Chiefs player penalized for praying after TD

Did Roger Goodell’s bodyguard assault a photographer?

Kobe, Deron engage in war of words

Belichick laughs off QB question

Joe Fauria's puppy caused ankle injury

Texas WR takes shot at Baylor

Jim Harbaugh rips Deion Sanders' report

NBA GMs on the hot seat

Bills bench Manuel for Kyle Orton

The most and least improved hitters

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.