NBA teams simply don't lose after taking 3-0 leads in a series and the Portland Trail Blazers have looked woefully ill-equipped at competing with the Grizzlies for three straight games, much less four — the outcome of the series has pretty much been determined and it is only a question of how soon it will be over.
But complicating matters will be the absence of Mike Conley, who suffered a blow to the head in Game 3 and will not play in Game 4 at the very least.
At this point there's no timetable for his return, but it creates an interesting wrinkle for their potential matchup against the Warriors as described well by Matthew Rothstein of Dime Magazine:
No one can lock down Steph Curry, but Conley is a damn good defender, and when he, Allen, Z-Bo and Gasol all share the floor, they defend exceptionally well, only surrendering 98 points per 100 possessions, just about equaling the Warriors' league-leading regular season average.
Conley is an excellent offensive distributor, make no mistake, but the only way the Grizzlies could hope to steal a game at the Oracle Center in Oakland will be if they lock down the Dubs' offense and keep a lid on the loudest home crowd in the NBA. And to do that, they're going to need Conley.
We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves until something more definitive is actually announced, but let's just say that the Grizzlies would be well-served to enter the second round against the Warriors at full strength.
Tonight's playoff schedule:
- Atlanta at Brooklyn, 4 p.m. PST (NBA TV)
- Milwaukee at Chicago, 5 p.m. PST (TNT)
- Memphis at Portland, 7:30 p.m. PST (TNT)
Consider this your open thread for the evening. Enjoy!