Memphis Grizzlies 109, Portland Trailblazers 105: Game 37

Busta BucketCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2010

On the tail end of a back to back that started in Los Angeles, the Blazers wasted away an 8-point lead in the final four minutes, losing to Memphis, 109-105. Brandon Roy had 27 points and 9 assists, but managed zero field goals in the final quarter.

This was a bizarre game. It was close throughout the first half, then Memphis started to pull away in the 3rd quarter. The arena didn't seem worried, there was a feeling of "I smell a comeback" as Portland was down 8 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

Sure enough, Portland went on a Monster run for the first 8 minutes of the 4th quarter, everyone came alive, Martell Webster was hitting, and the Blazers had a comfortable 8 point lead.

That's when it all went terribly wrong.

As soon as the Blazers started to slow it down and play not to lose, the game got ugly.

Brandon Roy deferred, guys were over passing and not getting easy shots, and the game collapsed before our eyes. I recall thinking negative thoughts after the first two buckets by Memphis. Portland would not adjust, they played the equivalent of a prevent defense and it failed like it always does.

When it got to the point where the teams were tied with 30 seconds left, it was basically over. Brandon had the ball up top, lost concentration, then allowed Mayo to tip the ball out. As far as calls go in the NBA—that probably shouldn't have been a foul.

But was it really a foul?

I think so, Roy grabbed Mayo with his off hand and that was that. It gets called in college. Bayless had an opportunity to tie it later but he missed a free throw.

It was a brutal ending to a tough game.

On a sidenote, their were some tremendous in game highlights. For example, I learned that raising the roof does in fact still exist.

Ndamukong Suh was also in the house, he strolled by us, and went straight to a comfy courtside seat next to Larry Miller. That was the last time Suh looked up as he could be found texting all game long. Although, Rebecca Haarlow did interrupt him for a few seconds:

Haarlow and Suh

The Good

Andre Miller was very good through 3 quarters. The guy seems to be picking his game up in a major way. 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, 10 rebounds and 4 assists in 31 minutes.

But the question is, why doesn't he play in the fourth quarter? I know Bayless helped spur that run in the first part of the 4th, but Andre needs to replace him when he starts making bad decisions.

Miller could have controlled that outcome, I think he destroys the collapse. Also, something many TV viewers didn't see, was his demeanor and attitude when McMillan put him in for the final 10 seconds. Andre was pissed. Shaking his head, mumbling, very unhappy at that moment. He knew he could have helped, but the coaches don't play him in the fourth. I don't understand it.

Brandon Roy recovered from his tough night in LA with 27 points. LaMarcus Aldridge probably had something to do with it, from the standpoint of spreading the floor and keeping the defense honest.

Martell Webster was once again amazing from deep. He hit 5 threes again, and really helped keep Portland in the game and he was pivotal in the comeback early in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, he didn't hit the biggest jumper late in the game, but we aren't in a position to win if not for Webster.

Bayless also had a nice game. I think he is becoming somewhat of a Travis Outlaw clone. He has good games, but some of the missed shots or turnovers are just awful. He had a couple drives that ended up as either behind the back toss ups or turnovers out of bounds. Overall though, Bayless was a great contributor.

Juwan Howard was once again stellar. He is the whole package for Portland right now, veteran, clutch, leader, stud. So glad he is here.

The Bad

Where do I begin?

Brandon Roy's zero field goals in the 4th quarter? Lack of overall execution down the stretch? Poor personnel decisions? Complete lack of containment on Zach Randolph? Bad perimeter defense? I think you get the point.

The thing that stood out to me was LaMarcus getting dominated by Z-bo.

I realize LA just came back from injury, but that was ridiculous.

Block him out, get physical, get in his head. He's obviously emotional on the court, take him out of his game. The complaining and posturing by Randolph got old quickly, as if any referee should ever trust his judgment.

Execution was bad in the last four minutes. But my question is, if anyone actually made a shot and Portland won the game, would anyone be talking about it? The Blazers played to lose and got burned.

Brandon Roy kept deferring to other guys instead of pulling up for a jumper or getting in the lane and drawing a foul. I don't know what the problem was, but it was terrible to watch.

The Ugly

Zach Randolph's 27-and-14 is impressive on paper, and he worked for it, but it's still ugly. His incessant chatter with the refs and trying to make calls, gets really old. I personally don't care if he puts up good numbers, he's a black hole and not someone I ever want on my team again.

I haven't talked about the refs in a while, and I am not blaming them for the loss last night. However, there were some crazy calls last night.

The flagrant foul call on Juwan Howard was garbage. I hate that the league continues to get softer with ever hard foul that's called a flagrant.

I also recall a foul called on Juwan where the guy just came down on top of him. Then of course, the foul on Roy when the game was tied with 30 seconds left. It could really go either way.

I don't think LeBron James or Kobe Bryant gets whistled for that type of a foul.

NBA officials show favoritism towards the stars, so why didn't they do it on that possession? Who knows. I'd rather the refs do their jobs the whole game, so I don't know what to say.

Anyway, it was a tough game to stomach, hopefully Portland gets a different outcome on Friday against the Lakers in the Rose Garden.

Box Score

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