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CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard Lead Blazers into Playoffs with Huge Win

The bracket is set!

The Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the NBA playoffs after Portland came from behind to take down the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon by a score of 126-122.

Behind a trio of huge performances, the young Grizzlies were unable to hold on to force a second play-in game.

As per usual, bubble MVP Damian Lillard led the way for the Blazers with 31 points and 10 assists, while CJ McCollum scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, while continuing to nurse a stress fracture in his back. Jusuf Nurkic, who lost his grandmother to COVID-19 this morning put in an aspiring effort, finishing the game with a tremendous 22 points and 21 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony added 21 points in the win, including a clutch three-pointer to ice the victory for Portland off a kick out.

”What we’ve done in these two weeks is really special,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said following the win. ”I couldn’t be more proud of a group of guys because we were up against it every game, nine straight games where our season was basically in the balance. … They found a way.”

Ja Morant was not ready to let the Grizzlies go down without a fight.

The rookie phenom poured in a career-high 35 points in the loss. Jonas Valanciunas came up big for the Grizzlies as well, finishing the game with a 22 points and 16 rebound performance. The Grizzlies young Canadian tandem of Brandon Clarke and Dillon Brooks finished the night with 20 points a piece.

“I’m going to be able to sleep and live well during the summer, despite a tough loss, knowing that we put in so much work and we were that close to getting into the playoffs,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. ”These guys, the first words they said when we got in the locker room was, ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do.”’

Despite a tragic collapse inside the bubble, the Grizzlies will head home with the heads held high after an incredible season and plenty of positive takeaways of note. With a young and exciting core in place, the Grizz have plenty to build upon.

Now, it’s playoff time!

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