Wesley matthews

The Portland Trail Blazers turned up the defense down the stretch to turn back the Grizzlies.

Wesley Matthews scored 21 points, J.J. Hickson added 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Portland beat Memphis 86-84 on Friday night.

Rudy Gay’s jumper from near the top of the key was off the mark as time expired, allowing the Trail Blazers to escape a closely played game that saw nine ties and 21 lead changes.

”I thought we played very good team defense,” said LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Portland. ”We played their tendencies very well down the stretch. We had talked about it all game, about knowing what guys were going to do, and I thought down the stretch we guarded that.”

Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard added 11 points apiece for the Trail Blazers, Lillard also handing out eight assists, as Portland won for the ninth time in its last 12 games.

Marreese Speights had a season-high 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies in place of Zach Randolph, who missed the game with flu-like symptoms. Gay had 19 points, but was 8 of 21 from the field.

Marc Gasol scored 12 points and had a career-best eight blocks. Darrell Arthur contributed 10 points off the Memphis bench.

– Reported by Clay Bailey of the Associated Press