The Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trail Blazers will face-off in one of the first games of the restart of the NBA 2019-20 season. Both the teams are vying for a final playoff spot in the Western Conference and will be coming in hard. However, it would be interesting to see how the teams have shaped up after the fur month forced stoppage. They are bound to be a little rusty and that might affect their overall performance.
The Memphis Grizzlies have a new-look side and have been rebuilding the franchise little by little.
In Ja Morant, they have a terrific young talent who has been the Rookie of the Year candidate. The 20-year-old has led the team with great aplomb and has averaged 18 points and seven assists per game. He has all the makings of a future NBA star and will give the Grizzlies the X-Factor.
The team also has other exciting talents like Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Brandon Clarke. They provide the team the necessary speed and fire. The debut of the talented Justise Winslow for the team along with the tall Jonas Valanciunas is the other promising aspects for the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies did lose their scrimmage restart game on Sunday against the Houston Rockets 104-119 and would need to quickly put that behind them.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers are 3.5 games behind the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot out West. However, they still have enough time to make up for it.
Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic form the nucleus of the team and they would have to do much of the heavy scoring. However, the injury to Rodney Hood and Trevor Ariza’s unavailability for the season is a major blow to the side. Thus, the Trail Blazers would have to bank on their big three and hope that they get going straightaway. 22-year-old Zach Collins could be another man to watch out for as he could improve the team’s rebounding.
They lost a close game (104-110) against the Toronto Raptors in the scrimmage match on Sunday but still showed promising signs.
Portland Trail Blazers vs Memphis Grizzlies
If Portland finishes within four games of the 8th seed in the Western Conference, the Blazers will get the chance to prove their effectiveness.
Memphis is 4-2 over their last six games before the stoppage and that included a sensational 105-88 win against the top-seeded Lakers. Meanwhile, Portland is 3-5 in its last six contests. All three of those wins, interestingly, came against teams that had a worse record than them at that time.
The Grizzlies have a young and energetic side while the Portland Trail Blazers have good experience in their ranks. However, the unavailability of the two key players could hurt them bad. But the veterans of Portland give them the edge in this contest as they could excel under pressure much better. Thus, bank on the Portland Trail Blazers as the winners of this clash.