Live from my living room couch as the Memphis Grizzlies take on the Portland Trail Blazers.
Once more, Portland's season is on the line. After avoiding the sweep with a victory in game four, the Blazers find themselves back in enemy territory and on the cusp of calling it a year. Even though Portland managed to take this to a game five, the Grizzlies are going to be a tough out tonight. Mike Conley or no, Memphis is still really good. This series stinks of a gentleman's sweep.
But the Blazers, for all their early struggles, do have a secret weapon that is loaded and fully operational. And I, for one, welcome our new Meyers Leonard overlord.
Will Steve Blake hit a field goal this series? Will Damian Lillard discover how to play defense? Will Courtney Lee and Beno Udrih continue to be wizards from the mid-range? There's not many questions left to tackle between these two teams—both are incredibly familiar with each other at this point—so we're just going to jump right into the game action. Let the ball do the talking, because the ball don't lie.
10:50 - Two turnovers for the Blazers, two made buckets for Zach Randolph. Not the best start here in the Grindhouse for Portland. 4-0 Grizz.
10:18 - Make that three in a row for Z-Bo. 6-0 Grizz.
9:26 - Timeout Portland after Courtney Lee sunk his 1145th mid-range jumper for the series. The Blazers are still looking to get on the board. Blurg. 8-0 Grizz.
8:58 - Another turnover, another Lee jumper. Things couldn't have started much worse. 10-0 Grizz.
8:06 - Batum to the line for a chance to finally put Portland on the board, but he could only sink one of two. 10-1 Grizz.
7:26 - A field goal! The Blazers made a field goal! Unfortunately, it came after Tony Allen sunk a three. When Tony Allen starts sinking threes, you know things are bad. 13-3 Grizz.
4:06 - The Blazers gave Randolph two easy looks at the rim, the second coming off of an offensive rebound, but somehow he whiffed on both. CJ McCollum finally grabbed the rebound, drove the length of the court, and sunk the layup at the rim. And after three minutes of game action, the Blazers have managed to chip...two points off of the Memphis lead. It's going to be a long battle. 18-10 Grizz.
3:12 - Aldridge missed a bunny right at the rim, and his shooting struggles continue. Luckily, Meyers was there to grab the offensive rebound, which led to a layup and-one from Dame. 18-13 Grizz.
1:09 - CJ and Dame are living at the rim. Just relentlessly attacking. The Blazers are alive, and it's the play of McCollum and Meyers that have sparked it all. If I'm Terry Stotts, Arron Afflalo doesn't play again this series. 20-18 Grizz.
0:00 - Remember that disastrous start? The Blazers have tied this game behind the play of McCollum. 20-20 Tie.
10:47 - Aldridge is finally on the board with a nice up and under move on Jeff Green. 22-22 Tie.
10:14 - Steve Blake's first field goal of the series! And the Blazers lead! 24-22 Blazers.
9:51 - Tony Allen gave CJ a shove in the back on a layup attempt, which sent CJ flying to the floor. Allen promptly got hit with a flagrant, giving CJ two freebies and the ball back to Portland. 25-24 Blazers.
8:56 - McCollum for three. Dude has eleven already. Wow. 28-24 Blazers.
7:00 - Aldridge with a swooping runner in the lane over Koufos. Please, LA, let that be the start of something good. 30-29 Blazers.
6:13 - The Blazers have given up approximately seventeen offensive rebounds on the last few possessions. Finally, Memphis is able to make them pay by converting one of their second-chance opportunities, and the Blazers need time. 31-30 Grizz.
5:56 - Out of the timeout, Meyers drains a three. Save us, Meyers Leonard, you're our only hope. 33-31 Blazers.
4:45 - Rebound. Rebound. Reeeebound. The Blazers are getting killed on the boards, and a Vince Carter tip-dunk circa 2002 has Memphis on top once again. 34-33 Grizz.
1:54 - Hey hey, a second-chance bucket for the Blazers! The offensive rebound battle is now only 10-2 in favor of Memphis. 38-37 Grizz.
0:00 - That quarter...could have ended better. Behind a frantic pace and all of the offensive rebounds, Memphis ended on a 12-4 run to push their lead back to seven points. Considering how awful things started, the Blazers have to be satisfied headed into the break. Stotts should spend the entire half just boxing out everyone in the locker room, because ugh, rebounding. 46-39 Grizz.
11:14 - Ugh. Lillard missed a three on Portland's first possession. Gasol hit a jumper on the other end, then Memphis stole the in bounds pass and picked up two freebies. Another slow start for Portland's starters. 50-39 Grizz.
10:11 - Welp. It's the start of the first quarter all over again. Stotts has to get Afflalo and Lopez out of there immediately—they are killing Portland. This lineup does not work. 59-32 Grizz.
9:50 - LaMarcus with a turnaround jumper over Z-Bo out of the timeout. That feels like the first time he's hit that in three games. Hopefully it's the start of things to come. 52-41 Grizz.
9:13 - Another flagrant on Memphis, this time on Randolph. He grabbed LaMarcus right around the neck on a drive, and it will be two freebies plus the ball for Portland. 54-41 Grizz.
9:03 - Meyers for three on the extra flagrant possession! After LaMarcus sunk both freebies! Five-point possesion! Okay! 54-46 Grizz.
8:28 - CJ for three, and it's eight straight for the Blazers! For the love of all that is holy, please no more Lopez or Afflalo in this game. This is Portland's best lineup and it isn't even close. 54-49 Grizz.
6:04 - CJ for three! Again! Without hesitation, he's just firing away. 58-54 Grizz.
4:48 - Oh my god, CJ with a pullup three in transition. He is unconscious. This is amazing. 58-57 Grizz.
3:36 - CJ! Three! Again! He don't bluff. 61-58 Blazers.
2:14 - Some confusion on the court. Z-Bo was called for an offensive foul. Meyers went to high five Aldridge, grazed Z-Bo, and Z-Bo gave Meyers a two-handed push. The refs called a tech on Meyers, but they're going to go to the video to review this one. Because, duh. The tech is flipped and called on Randolph, and Dame sunk the freebie. 62-62 Tie.
0:00 - Two late jumpers upped McCollum's point total to 16 for the quarter, and he's tied his career-high with 27 points tonight. Win or lose, this has been fun as hell. 68-66 Grizz.
11:39 - Lopez in, and Gasol immediately scored over him. 70-66 Grizz.
9:25 - CJ with two missed layups at the rim. He is human after all. 72-70 Grizz.
8:36 - If the Blazers lose this game, it's going to be because of their terrible rebounding. Memphis is just killing Portland on the offensive boards, and all of these second chances are piling up. 74-72 Grizz.
7:49 - Blazers force a miss, but Z-Bo is there to clean up the glass and put it back in. UGH. 76-72 Grizz.
7:28 - And LaMarcus answers with a power move on Koufos to pick up the and-one. 76-75 Grizz.
5:36 - That good old Dame defense just reared its ugly head again—he was beat backdoor but a cutting Calathes for an easy layup. Lillard has actually been pretty good on that end tonight, and that may have just been a result of tired legs from him playing this entire second half, but still. 78-75 Grizz.
5:13 - After a timeout, the Blazers turn it over and CJ came up hobbling. Ugh. 78-75 Grizz.
4:58 - And Jeff Green answers with his first bucket of the night. It's nervous time. 80-75 Grizz.
3:54 - Aldridge missed again at the rim, and Jeff Green answered with an and-one. The Memphis crowd is alive, and this one feels like it is slipping away. 83-75 Grizz.
3:27 - Z-Bo with a jumper to give Memphis a 9-0 run. Slip sliding away... 85-75 Grizz.
3:16 - Out of the timeout, Meyers drained a top of the arc triple. Okay, then. 85-78 Grizz.
1:43 - Calathes with the dagger. This one is over. Why couldn't all of the games in this series be this fun? 89-78 Grizz.
1:04 - Well, the good news is CJ has a new career-high with thirty points. The bad news is the Blazers are out of time and are about to be done playing basketball for the season. 90-81 Grizz.
0:42 - And CJ keeps piling it on. Make that 33 for the night. 91-84 Grizz.
0:32 - The foul game is stretching this game to infinity, but the Blazers going for the quick two with no timeouts seems bizarre. You aren't going to make up much ground that way. 94-87 Grizz.
0:31 - Aldridge intentionally fouls Gasol, and that's his sixth for the night. Okay, now we can talk about it. Please don't let that be Aldridge's last play as a Blazer. 95-87 Grizz.
FINAL: 99-93 Grizzlies. And that will do it for your 2014-2015 Blazers. What a season. The injuries were just too much to overcome, but it was a hell of a run. There will be a lot of questions for next season, as Aldridge, Lopez, and Wesley Matthews are all impending free agents, but the future is still bright. Especially with what Meyers Leonard and CJ McCollum showed at the end of this series. And that'll do it. Until next year. Enjoy the rest of the playoffs.