The Portland Trail Blazers may be down 3-0 to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, but with Mike Conley out for at least this game (and probably more), Damian Lillard’s boys are playing with a new lease on life.
As of halftime, they were up 55-48 on Memphis, and Dame had 16 points, 5 assists and this absolutely vicious spin-move-to-reverse layup. First, he made Beno Udrih remember that he was cut by the New York Knicks in February, then he made Marc Gasol forget that he was the Defensive Player of the Year a season ago.
Seriously, the Blazers looked about as overmatched in this series as the Toronto Raptors did against the Washington Wizards before Conley had his face broken – and they seemed to be coming apart, too. But without Conley haunting Lillard on defense (and with one, possibly last, chance to get a win in front of their incredible homecourt crowd), the Blazers are back to their freewheeling best.
It also helps when Meyers Leonard comes off the bench to do a Dirk Nowitzki impression. The babyfaced seven-footer’s got 13 points on 5-5 shooting.