The Portland Trail Blazers are already in trouble as they trail 2-0 against the Memphis Grizzlies in their series, and injuries have deeply affected them as they have been handily defeated in Games 1 and 2.
Most recently, the Grizzlies beat the Blazers, 97-82. Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge carried the heavy burden for his team to no avail once again.
His shooting was rather unimpressive though as he only made 7-of-20 of his shots. He scored 24 points while grabbing 14 rebounds.
Aldridge has only made 37 percent of his shots despite scoring 28 points and snagging 14 rebounds per game in this series.
Point guard Damian Lillard had another terrible performance in Game 2, and he has now has a 27.0 shooting percentage in the 2014-15 playoffs despite averaging 16 points.
Luckily, the Blazers saw shooting guard C.J. McCollum return to the court in Game 1, and fellow shooting guard Arron Afflalo has been considered probable to return for Game 3 after nursing a shoulder strain.
McCollum struggled again though, as he only scored six points and shot 3-for-13 while playing 29 minutes off the bench while shooting 1-for-8 in Game 1.
Afflalo is the starter at his respective position for the Blazers, so his return will be vital for the team’s offense as they missed 13.3 points per game from him.
The Blazers should be more comfortable at home as they held a 32-9 record at Moda Center this season. Unfortunately, their track record against the Grizzlies there has not been good in recent games.
They have lost five of their last six games against the Grizzlies at Moda Center, and having a banged up team does not help matters either.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies continued to play top-notch defense against the Blazers while staying efficient and unselfish on offense.
Center Marc Gasol had a forgettable performance with 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds and five assists. However, he continued to look like an elite defender as he blocked three shots.
Power forward Zach Randolph also struggled with 10 points on 5-of-16 shooting, but he grabbed a team-leading 10 rebounds.
Point guard Mike Conley and shooting guard Courtney Lee stepped up in the scoring department though. Lee led the team with 18 points while Conley added 16 points with six assists.
Like Gasol, shooting guard Tony Allen stayed to true to his defensive identity as he also came up with three blocks.
The Grizzlies swept the Blazers in their four-game regular season series, and it appears that they may be headed for a playoff series sweep.
The Blazers have yet to prove that they can break out of their shooting funk, and Lillard will need to re-discover his playoff hero form that he demonstrated in the 2014 playoffs.
Aldridge will also need to improve his shooting accuracy despite his high scoring and excellent rebounding.
The entire Blazers team will also need to step up if they want to ensure that Aldridge will re-sign with them as a free agent, as the San Antonio Spurs are sure to give him an offer that will be nearly impossible to refuse.
The Grizzlies seem to have the Blazers’ number, so they should be expected to get closer to a series sweep on the road.
Prediction: Grizzlies 99, Blazers 94