All that Memphis Grizzlies fans really wanted to see Sunday Night was a healthy squad. A healthy Mike Conley and a healthy Tony Allen. A win to open up their first round series with Portland would be great, but a completely healthy team was number one on the wish list. They got that, and then some as the Grizzlies beat the Trail Blazers 100-86 in the series opener in front a raucous grind house in Memphis.

Marc Gasol
Photo: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies started out with a 6-0 run and never trailed Portland in Game 1. Memphis dominated the entire game and the final score does not indicate just how lopsided this game was. The Grizz took a 58-29 lead into the locker room at halftime and you had the sense that Portland was done on this night. The Grizzlies had a 29 point lead late in the 3rd quarter and missed opportunities to expand upon that lead.  The Trail Blazers obviously miss Wesley Matthews, who is done for the year with an Achilles injury, but they were also without Arron Afflalo who sat out with an ongoing shoulder injury.

Though the Grizzlies seem to be back at close to 100% health wise, their leading scorer was the Slovenian Sniper, Beno Udrih. Beno came in off the bench and provided sniper-like shooting precision; picking his spots to kill the morale of the Trail Blazers. He finished with 20 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds in 24 minutes. He went 9 of 14 on the night and hit the only 3-pointer he attempted. He was a major spark for the Grizzlies in the 1st quarter, making all 7 shots he took. This was huge for the Grizzlies because Mike Conley needed that rest as he went to the bench and immediately took his shoe off to try to get some relief from the plantar fasciitis that has been bothering him as of late.

Beno Udrih
Photo: Bruce Ely-The Oregonian/OregonLive

Conley played great as well in 24 minutes, scoring 16 points and driving the ball strong going to the line for and-1 situations. While only playing 24 minutes, he convinced the fans he was OK while flexing his muscles to the crowd after getting the hoop and the harm on several occasions. Tony Allen also came back and was doing Tony Allen like things in 25 minutes. He had 4 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and a block. Marc Gasol (who is Spanish) had close to a triple-double with 15 points, 11 boards and 7 assists. And Z-Bo flexed his muscle against his old team with 16 points, 11 boards, and some physical in-your-face defense against LaMarcus Aldridge.

Although Aldridge put up big numbers with 32 points and 14 rebounds, he was frustrated by Z-Bo, even picking up a technical foul. And while Aldridge’s numbers seem impressive on the surface, he shot the ball 34 times to get his 32 points. Damian Lillard also had a rough night shooting the ball going 5-21 with 14 points. Batum had 15 points in 38 minutes of play, and that was all of the Trail Blazers double-digit scorers. The Grizzlies defense was chasing them down and making life difficult all night long in route to a 34% shooting night for Portland. If you read my previous playoff preview article Playoff Preview: (5) Memphis vs. (4) Portland, I told you about the points-in-the-paint differential that could seal the coffin on Portland’s 2015 NBA Playoff campaign. In Game 1, the Grizzlies outscored the Trail Blazers 52-38, which happens to be the final margin of victory.

If the Trail Blazers cannot get some scoring from unexpected places, then they are really going to struggle to win a game in this series. Their top guys Aldridge, Lillard, and Batum had 61 points combined, and that was with a monster night from Aldridge. It’s unreasonable to think he can keep up that pace throughout the whole series against the Grizzlies beastly front court of Gasol and Randolph. Outside of those three guys, no one else scored in double figures for Portland in Game 1. They also have issues on defense now that Wesley Matthews is out. The Grizzlies point guards combined for 36 points against Damian Lillard, who played all but 9 minutes in Game 1. You also throw in the point-in-the-paint differential, even with Aldridge having a great night, and the Trail Blazers have a very tall task in front of them in Game 2 Wednesday night. While Arron Afflalo might not be able to carry Portland over the hump, they definitely need him back healthy…because the Grizzlies are.

Please leave us your comments and thoughts on this article. Let us know how you think the rest of this series will play out.

Brandon covers the NBA & Memphis Grizzlies for MyFantasySportsTalk.Com, you can follow him on Twitter @New_Breid


Brandon ReidAnalysisNBA#Grizzlies,Arron Afflalo,Beno Udrih,Damian Lillard,Grind House,LaMarcus Aldridge,Marc Gasol,Memphis,Memphis Grizzlies,Mike Conley,NBA,NBA Playoffs,Nicolas Batum,Portland,Portland Trail Blazers,Trail Blazers,Zach RandolphAll that Memphis Grizzlies fans really wanted to see Sunday Night was a healthy squad. A healthy Mike Conley and a healthy Tony Allen. A win to open up their first round series with Portland would be great, but a completely healthy team was number one on the wish...