The NBA restart at Disney Wide World of Sports in Florida began Thursday. On Friday, the Western conference 9th-seed Blazers squeezed out a tough 140-135 overtime win against a Grizzlies team that is currently just above them in the standings at 8th. Here’s Blazers.com reporting:
Playing for the first time this season with both Jusuf Nurkić and Zach Collins in the starting lineup, the Trail Blazers got off to a quick start Friday afternoon by shooting 62 percent from the field in the first quarter quarter. Had the Grizzlies not shot five more free throws and made twice as many three-pointers, Portland would have entered the second quarter leading by more than the 35-30.
The free throw discrepancy only got worse in the second quarter, with the Grizzlies being awarded 15 trips to the line compared to just five for the Trail Blazers. Even with Memphis being gently guided to the charity stripe seemingly every offensive possession, Portland still managed to take a 12-point lead, their largest of the game, before taking a 68-60 advantage into the intermission…
“We all knew coming in it was going to be a battle,” said Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard. “They’re a really high energy, young team, they play fast, they play hard… We kept our minds in it and once it came down to it, I think we showed we was the team that wanted it more.”
The Trail Blazers are now 30-37 overall and 1-0 in Orlando. More importantly, the win, along with the associated loss, gets the Trail Blazers to within 2.5 games of the Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with seven “seeding games” to play.