An excellent sign of how the Portland Trail Blazers seem to be giving up on their series with the Memphis Grizzlies, down 3-0 at this point, is that the main thing being mentioned heading into game 4 has been whether LaMarcus Aldridge is going to re-sign with them or not.
It’s been rather one sided in this #4 vs #5 series, a common theme in these playoffs and something the Western conference shares with the Eastern conference. The Wizards, the lower seed, without home court advantage, swept the Toronto Raptors.
But one thing standing in the Grizzlies’ way of a first round sweep is the condition of Mike Conley, who will sit out the game after exiting midway through game 3 due to a hit he took in the face. Conley is still swollen around his left eye, and is not in a condition which will allow him to play. It will give him a few more days to also rest up with a foot injury bothering him as well.
This means it’s going to be on Beno Udrih, who didn’t play in game 3 due to a sprained ankle, and if not the Slovenian, it’ll be Nick Calathes, scoring 13 points in the previous game and surprising everyone with how comfortable he seemed to be in a major role in a playoff game, something he has barely experienced, at least not on an NBA level.
The Blazers haven’t been able to keep the Grizzlies out of the paint (outscored by more than 40 points overall in the series), can’t stop the 3-point shot (making 44.1% of their shots). They’re also getting to the line quite comfortably, making 39-of-43 shots in game 3. The offense hasn’t been doing a whole lot better as well.
Damian Lillard has struggled with Conley guarding him, so he should be doing a lot better in game 4. Arron Afflalo coming back from a shoulder injury should help as well, but if the Blazers keep treating this series as an experiment in trying to win games by doing nothing but taking jump shots, all the absences and returns in the world for both teams won’t stop the inevitable from happening, probably in just four games.