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Damian Lillard pours in 32 as Blazers cool off Grizzlies

Sportsnaut
Dec 19, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots for three over Memphis Grizzles guard Desmond Bane (22) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 19, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots for three over Memphis Grizzles guard Desmond Bane (22) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard scored 32 points and Norman Powell contributed seven of his 28 points on crucial shots down the stretch as the visiting Portland Trail Blazers snapped the Memphis Grizzlies’ five-game winning streak with a 105-100 decision on Sunday.

Dillon Brooks led the Grizzlies with a career-high 37 points.

Powell made the last of his five 3-pointers to give Portland a 97-95 lead with 2:47 remaining off one of Lillard’s five assists. Lillard assisted Powell again on a mid-range jumper with 31.9 seconds left, ultimately putting the game away for the Blazers.

The latter basket gave Portland a four-point lead, as Jusuf Nurkic had tipped in his own miss at the rim to break a 97-97 tie 1:14 to go. Nurkic finished with nine points and matched teammate Larry Nance Jr. with a game-high 11 rebounds.

Brooks made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt with 9.4 seconds remaining, pulling Memphis to within a point. Powell made a pair of foul shots on the other end pushing the lead back to three before Bane missed a would-be game-tying shot.

Robert Covington came off the bench to add 13 points for Portland, which has earned consecutive wins for the first time since a four-game win streak from Nov. 15-23. Covington also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots to contribute to a critical defensive effort.

The Blazers held Memphis to just 35-of-91 shooting from the floor (38.5 percent), including 9-of-34 success (26.5 percent) from 3-point range. Portland used its own defense to compensate for its struggles against the Grizzlies’ defensive intensity.

Memphis made 13 steals, part of Portland’s 20 total turnovers. Kyle Anderson came off the bench to contribute four steals to go with 11 points. Steven Adams made three steals and added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Grizzlies.

Brooks produced his fifth straight game with at least 22 points. Backcourt mate Desmond Bane, who joined Brooks shouldering the scoring load as Memphis won 10 of 11 games prior to Sunday, shot just 1-for-8 from 3-point range and finished with nine points.

–Field Level Media