Blazers top Grizzlies 9793

first_imgPORTLAND — Just when everyone was convinced that the Trail Blazers were tanking, they showed they still have something left in the tank. Maybe it was a fleeing moment. Perhaps it was an anomaly. But after beating the Grizzlies 97-93, Portland looked less like a lottery team and more like one playing power ball. Of course, you can never make any serious evaluation based on one game. The Lakers’ most recent championship run with rife was with regular-season losses to the Bobcats. However, two nights earlier, when the Blazers fell to the sub-.500 Bucks by 29 points in their own building, the thought of beating the team with the fourth-best record in the west sounded like nothing more than pure fiction. And yet — there was Nicolas Batum taking a charge from Marc Gasol midway through the fourth quarter to boost the crowd-nose to Rose Garden expectations. There was Wesley Matthews drilling a 3-pointer with 3:47 remaining to put Portland up by six. There was Jamal Crawford stroking home all 10 of his free throws — seven of which came in the fourth quarter — to ice the game and, more importantly, cool talk of an irreconcilable season. “There are 19 more games. We look at the standings on NBA.com, and when there’s a little cross next to a team, that means you’re not in the playoffs,” Batum said. “We don’t have that cross yet.” The Blazers (22-25) currently lie 3 1/2 games behind the Rockets for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoff race. Just as significantly, three teams (Utah, Phoenix an Minnesota) sit between Houston and Portland in the standings, meaning very few losses can be spared.last_img