CJ McCollum scored 33 points, teaming with Damian Lillard for 11 of Portland's 16 in overtime, and the Trail Blazers pulled out a desperately needed victory to resume their season by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 140-135 on Friday.
Lillard finished with 29 points and nine assists as the Trail Blazers boosted their hopes for a seventh consecutive playoff appearance. Carmelo Anthony added 21 points as Portland moved within 2 1/2 games of the Grizzlies for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference.
“Everybody knew how important that game was,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “This is playoff basketball from us and we have that pressure and you can’t shy away from it.”
McCollum started fast, scoring 19 points in the first half, and finished strong with two crucial 3-pointers in overtime. The first one to open the extra period gave Portland the lead for good, and he added six assists.
Jaren Jackson Jr. had 33 points and rookie Ja Morant added 22 points and 11 assists for Memphis.
It certainly wasn't pretty. Portland was called for 36 fouls, sending Memphis to the free throw line 50 times. The Grizzlies drew 26 fouls and the teams combined for five technical fouls.
But it was a wild start to their resumption of the NBA season.
“It was a weird game,” McCollum said. “But all in all, all we need is wins. We need to get as many wins as we can and get out of here.”
Memphis rallied from a 13-point, third-quarter deficit to take an 11-point lead, then gave it away almost as quickly. When the Grizzlies recovered to take a 112-103 lead with 6:01 left in regulation, it appeared the Grizzlies might pad their lead in the standings.
Instead, Anthony's 3 with 37.5 seconds left tied the score at 124 and Morant fell on a last-second fast break, sending the game to overtime.
After McCollum broke the tie with the opening 3, Gary Trent Jr. and McCollum followed with two more 3s to make it 135-124 and the Grizzlies couldn't get closer than three the rest of the game.
“Win or lose, we’ve got to keep focused on the next task at hand,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “That was a challenge. It was a heck of a game.”