Damian Lillard’s 44 Points Leads Blazers To Epic Win vs. Grizzlies

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

During the NBA’s Wednesday night slate, the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 122-112 behind 44 points and 10 assists from Damian Lillard.

Jerami Grant scored 18 points in the first half before leaving with concussion symptoms. Memphis was outscored 38-22 in the fourth quarter as Portland won its fourth in a row.

“I think we’ve had a couple of quality wins,” Lillard said. “This was the best team we’ve come up with a win against, especially as of late.”

Despite injuries to Jusuf Nurkic and Grant in the first half, Portland was able to rally late. As the game wound down, the Trail Blazers’ defense held Memphis to 39 percent shooting, including 1 of 7 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

“I knew I needed to be a little more aggressive just to give ourselves a chance,” Simons said. “Everybody else played well and everybody was ready to play.”

Ja Morant led Memphis with 32 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds. With 18 points and six blocks, Jaren Jackson Jr. contributed, and Desmond Bane chipped in with 17 points.

NBA SCORES & NEWS: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers & Memphis Grizzlies Updates

Lillard, who scored at least 40 points in five of his games in January, converted 11 of 22 shots and 5 of 13 3-pointers. In addition, he missed only one free throw out of 16 attempts.

“They just found a way to get open shots,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “… I thought our guys competed. You’ve just got to tip your hat. Lillard’s on a roll right now, and we were on the wrong end of that.”

With two minutes remaining, the teams were tied at 109, but Lillard’s 3-pointer and Simons’ layup helped Morant’s goaltending. With just under a minute left, Portland led 117-109 after Drew Eubanks converted a three-point play on a dunk.

NBA SCORES & NEWS: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers & Memphis Grizzlies Updates

After Lillard scored 17 points in the third quarter, Morant answered with 16 points, and Memphis led 90-84 entering the fourth quarter before Portland rallied.

“I didn’t play good enough defense on Lillard,” said Memphis forward Dillon Brooks, who had the defensive assignment most of the night on Portland’s top scorer. “He started hitting shots. Even though they were tough shots, I’ve got to do something to contest. Do something to discourage him from shooting when he started getting hot.”

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Jake Rogers is a sports writer who attended Arizona State University and currently serves as a contributor for NBA Analysis Network.