The Memphis Grizzlies wrapped up the playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers 4-1 in Game 5 on Wednesday. The Grizzlies now face top-seeded Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals. The series kicks off with Game 1 on Sunday.
Portland managed to extend the series by winning Game 4, but the Grizzlies didn’t waste opportunity to finish off the series in Game 5 at FedExForum to book their 3rd West semifinal berth in 5 years.
Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies to a 99-93 win. The Spanish star scored 24 points and 14 rebounds.
“It feels great,” Gasol said. “It feels great to have a little time off to do some things around the house. I’m going to have a little time to be with my little girl. It’s actually great to be home.”
Courtney Lee scored 20 more points for the winners, Zack Randolph had 16 points and Jeff Green, coming in as a substitute, added 10 more to the tally. Without their point-guard Mike Conley for the second consecutive game, Memphis dominated in the opening minutes and were 12 points ahead. Conley was ruled out for a facial surgery after an injury he picked up in Game 3.
CJ McCollum led the Trail Blazers with a career-best 33 points. Point-guard Damian Lillard also scored 22. Portland reached the West semifinals last season where they were defeated by defending champions San Antonio Spurs, but bowed out of the first round playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.
“The season was going to be a very special season,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said after his side was eliminated. “Unfortunately some things didn’t turn out the way we wanted to.”
The Grizzlies led by only 68-66 at the end of the 3rd quarter, but shot 10 of 14 free throws on target in the final 64 seconds to cruise home. Portland tied at 72 for the last time.
“The guys were running on fumes,” revealed Memphis coach Dave Joerger of the fourth quarter. “I played guys a lot of minutes.”