Preview: Grizzlies at Trail Blazers

By The Sports Xchange
POSTED: 11:16 PM MST Jan 27, 2014    UPDATED: 11:16 PM MST Jan 27, 2014 

Since a modest 2-2 start to 2014, the Memphis Grizzlies have made an impressive surge with seven wins in their last eight games. Memphis will look to make it eight of nine and four in a row away from home as it kicks off a three-game road swing against the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday. The positive shift is welcome but the Grizzlies aren't quite back to playing their game yet, as point guard Mike Conley told the Memphis Daily News, "We're not all the way there but we're making huge strides."Portland has hit a bit of a rough patch, losing three of its last five games following a five-game winning streak. The Trail Blazers' NBA-leading offense dried up last time out in a 103-88 loss at Golden State that left coach Terry Stotts fresh out of ideas. "We were trying everything," Stotts told The Oregonian and leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge added, "It was just one of those nights where I couldn't get going."TV: 10 p.m. ET, SportSouth (Memphis), CSN Northwest (Portland)ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (22-20): Memphis is showing signs of a team that is starting to find its identity after wandering relatively aimlessly through the early part of the season. "We are playing our way," forward Zach Randolph said recently, "and that's physical basketball, 48 minutes, grit-and-grind." The Grizzlies are 12-5 since falling to five games under .500 in a loss at Dallas Dec. 18 and are chasing the Mavericks for the Western Conference's final playoff spot, currently two games out.ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (33-12): Portland's latest loss seemed to just be one of those nights where every hand went cold at once. Aside from Aldridge's woeful 2-for-14 shooting performance and a season-low 10 points, key cogs Damian Lillard (5-of-16) and Wesley Matthews (5-of-14) also never found a rhythm. Aldridge leads the Blazers' offense, averaging 24.3 points while Lillard adds 20.7 to give Portland two of the NBA's top 15 scorers.BUZZER BEATERS 1. Memphis has won its last three meetings against the Trail Blazers, including two in a row in Portland.2. The Blazers have scored at least 100 points in 36 of their 45 games this season.3. Randolph equaled F Pau Gasol's franchise record with his 189th career double-double against Houston Saturday, finishing with 15 points and 17 rebounds.PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 103, Grizzlies 100