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Lillard scores 24 as Blazers down Grizzlies 99-92


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Damian Lillard had 24 points, including 15 in the third quarter, and the Portland Trail Blazers handed the Memphis Grizzlies their fourth straight loss with a 99-92 victory on Wednesday night.

Portland’s bench was key, outscoring the Grizzlies’ reserves 44-14 for the team’s third straight win. Meyers Leonard had 12 points and eight rebounds.

Portland went on an 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter and stretched its lead to 85-71 on Zach Collins’ layup and Seth Curry’s 3-pointer. The Blazers led by as many as 16 points in the period.

Memphis closed within 99-92 after Marc Gasol’s free throws with 45.5 seconds left, but couldn’t catch up. The Grizzlies were led by Mike Conley with 23 points.

Memphis was coming off a 110-93 loss Monday at the Golden State Warriors, the first of a four-game road swing.

Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff said before the game that center Joakim Noah would not play because of an Achilles injury. But Conley, who missed the game against the Warriors because of hamstring soreness, started.

The Grizzlies got off to a fast start, going up 17-8 at the start and capitalizing on six Portland turnovers. Portland closed the gap and tied it at 17 on Meyers Leonard’s 3-pointer before the end of the first quarter. Evan Turner’s pullup jumper gave Portland a 19-18 lead early in the second, and Grizzlies weren’t able to re-take the lead until Jaren Jackson’s driving layup made it 35-34.

Conley made consecutive 3-pointers and the Grizzlies led 52-47 at the half. He led all scorers with 15 points.

After a slow start in the first half, Lillard hit four 3-pointers and 15 points in the third quarter. Meyers Leonard’s 3-pointer put Portland in front 74-67.

The Blazers were coming off a 131-127 victory on the road against the Clippers. Lillard had 22 points in the third quarter and Portland snapped a six-game losing streak on the road.


Grizzlies: Bickerstaff said the Grizzlies missed Dillon Brooks, who missed his 20th game because of a right knee injury. Brooks, who played for the Oregon Ducks, is in his second NBA season. “We miss the tenacity that he plays with. The toughness. A never-given-in attitude,” Bickerstaff said before the game.

Trail Blazers: It was Lillard’s 500th regular-season game. He was just 2 of 7 from the field in the first half. … Every Blazer who played scored.


Grizzlies: Memphis continues its road trip at Sacramento on Friday.

Trail Blazers: Portland hosts Utah on Friday.


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