Grizzlies squeeze Blazer playoff hopes with 5-point win

photo courtesy Portland Trail Blazers

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by Associated Press

kgw.com

Posted on March 12, 2013 at 11:38 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 13 at 7:28 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Zach Randolph returned from an ankle injury with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies won their fifth straight game with a 102-97 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Marc Gasol had 20 points for the Grizzlies, who have won 13 of their last 14 games and sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. Mike Conley added 14 points and a career-high 15 assists, and Memphis matched its season high with 31 assists overall.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, whose playoff hopes are slipping away. Rookie Damian Lillard had 27 points.

Memphis (43-19) led by as many as 15 points in the second half but the Blazers closed the gap to 79-72 after Lillard's 3-pointer and a pair of free throws from Aldridge. Eric Maynor's 3-pointer with 3:49 left narrowed Memphis' lead to 83-78, but Tayshaun Prince answered with a 3-pointer for the Grizzlies.

Portland kept up the pressure, pulling within 89-84 on a pair of free throws from Maynor with 1:21 to go, but Conley came back with a short jumper and Portland was unable to catch up.

Portland (29-34) returned home after a 1-2 road trip, including the loss at Memphis. The Blazers are four games back of Los Angeles for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

There was a lot of jawing back-and-forth between the teams, particularly between former teammates Randolph and Aldridge. Randolph played in Portland his first six seasons in the league. He and Aldridge were together for just one season, when Aldridge was a rookie in 2006-07.

Notes: The teams split the previous two meetings this season, both in Memphis. They meet once more on April 3 at the Rose Garden.

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