Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 3)

Series starts 11/22

Game 1: Tuesday, November 22nd
Trail Blazers95Final
Game 2: Wednesday, December 21st
Trail Blazers79Final
Game 3: Friday, December 30th
Trail Blazers90

Trail Blazers 79

(7-18, 2-11 away)

Grizzlies 89

(15-9, 8-5 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:00 PM ET, December 21, 2005

    FedExForum, Memphis, TN

    1 2 3 4 T
    POR 24 15 21 1979
    MEM 18 25 23 2389

    Top Performers

    Por: J. Dixon 17 Pts, 4 Reb, 7 Ast, 4 Stl

    Mem: P. Gasol 26 Pts, 12 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 5 Blk

    Gasol's adds five blocks to Memphis' winning cause

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Pau Gasol's renewed confidence is starting to re-energize the Memphis Grizzlies.

    For the second straight game, the Grizzlies' leading scorer pounded the ball inside, scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds Wednesday night to lead Memphis to a 89-79 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

    Gasol shot 11-of-17 from the field and led a 50-34 Memphis advantage in the paint. Gasol also had five blocks. In a Monday night double-overtime loss to Detroit, Gasol had 32 points and 13 rebounds.

    "I know that if I perform at a really high level, we're going to have a better chance to win," Gasol said. "If I score 10, 15 points and have five or seven rebounds in a game, we probably are not going to win. I just need to get more aggressive and let my teammates feel all that energy and all that emotion."

    Memphis built the lead to its biggest of the game at 72-62 when Mike Miller scored on a fast break drive with 7:34 left.

    Portland answered by getting the ball inside to Zach Randolph, who scored twice as part of a 6-0 mini-run. Eventually, with Randolph and Ruben Patterson scoring inside, Portland cut into the lead, trailing by 3 on three occasions, the last coming with just under three minutes left at 80-77.

    But a 3-pointer from Damon Stoudamire and four final points from Gasol rebuilt the lead to 89-79, sending the Trail Blazers to their fifth loss in six games.

    "We lost our heads a little bit late in the ballgame," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "We're right there with two minute to go, then they knock down a three, and I think that really took the air out of us."

    In addition to the advantage in the paint, Memphis forced 17 turnovers leading to 24 points.

    Shane Battier added 15 points for Memphis, while Miller scored 13 and Dahntay Jones had 10 points off the bench.

    Battier acknowledged that the Grizzlies are a different team when Gasol pushes the ball to the basket rather than settling for outside shots and not trying to get to the rim.

    "It's huge because it opens up the 3-ball for us," Battier said. "We're not a power team. We can't just overpower teams on a nightly basis. So, when we are getting points like that in the paint, it's a huge bonus for our offense."

    Juan Dixon led Portland with 17 points and seven assists, while Randolph and Patterson added 15 points each. Joel Przybilla scored 10 points and had nine rebounds and six blocks.

    The Trail Blazers missed seven of their first nine shots, but hung around and held a six-point lead after the first quarter.

    Memphis continually worked inside, primarily with Gasol, who had 12 in the half. Of the Grizzlies first 11 baskets, 10 were in the paint. At one point, Memphis led by 9, but Portland scored seven unanswered points late in the half, and the Grizzlies took a 43-39 lead into the break.

    Dixon had 10 for Portland.

    "I thought we looked a little fatigued early in the first half," said McMillan, whose team lost Tuesday night at Detroit. "I thought we scrapped and fought to keep ourselves in the game, but early, they were just quicker to the ball."

    Memphis maintained the lead through the third period, but could never break away from Portland, carrying a 66-60 lead into the final quarter.

    Gasol had eight points in the fourth, including hitting all three of his field goal attempts. He said eliminating his passive play that contributed to a recent three-game losing streak is part of the key.

    "We have this five game (home) stretch here, and we've already lost two, and we just cannot afford to lose anymore," Gasol said. "I will do whatever it takes and trying to play with a little more confidence than I did before these two games and be more aggressive."

    Game notes

    Only two Portland players -- Randolph and Przybilla -- started both Wednesday's game and the Trail Blazers' Nov. 22 win at Memphis. ... Entering the game, Portland had won only two road games, one of them in Memphis. ... Portland G Sebastian Telfair missed his third game with a right thumb sprain. ... Memphis G Eddie Jones missed his first game of the season with a right ankle injury. Miller started in his place. ... Randolph got a technical for arguing a call with 3:17 left in the third period. ... Memphis assistant coach Lionel Hollins also received a technical in the third period. ...Przybilla's six blocks matched his season high. ...The 38 Memphis rebounds included 19 offensive boards, matching a season high in that category.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 79 89
    FGM-FGA 27-63 (.429) 34-82 (.415)
    3PM-3PA 2-12 (.167) 6-13 (.462)
    FTM-FTA 23-32 (.719) 15-19 (.789)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-41 19-38
    Assists 15 20
    Turnovers 17 11
    Steals 7 8
    Blocks 10 7
    Fast Break Points 6 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (3/0) 24 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 6 10

    Top Performers

    Juan Dixon Dixon
    Points: 17
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0
    Pau Gasol Gasol
    Points: 26
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 5