Published May 03, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Memphis Grizzlies will try to polish off a sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night at the Moda Center, but they'll have to do it without one of their top players.
Mike Conley, the team's starting point guard and one of many elite-level defensive players in the Memphis lineup, will miss Game 4. He underwent facial surgery after an errant elbow in Game 3 and is definitely out Monday, possibly longer.
"He's got the biggest heart," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "He's the purest-hearted guy, he's a true leader, he's a winner, will do whatever's asked of him, and what isn't asked he looks for to help the team win. It's a big blow."
With Memphis leading 74-64 late in the third quarter, Portland's C.J. McCollum hit Conley with an inadvertent elbow which drew blood. Conley went right to the floor and was later helped to the locker room with a towel over his face.
Team personnel was focusing on his left eye while in the locker room. Conley did not return to the game and was taken to a local Portland hospital. He finished with 14 points and four assists.
Beno Udrih is expected to start in Conley's place. He's averaged 15 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 4.0 apg during this series, but sprained his ankle in Game 2 and sat out Game 3. Udrih is expected to be good to go on Monday.
In Saturday's Game 3, Marc Gasol registered 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists to lead the Grizzlies to a 115-109 win. Courtney Lee had 20 points and Zach Randolph added 16 for the Grizzlies.
Nick Calathes came up big with 13 points off the bench in place of Conley and Udrih.
Nicolas Batum led all scorers with 27 points, C.J. McCollum netted 26 points and Damian Lillard went for 22 points and nine assists in the loss. LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
"Certainly it is disappointing to be down 0-3, obviously our backs are against the wall. Now our focus shifts to getting a win on Monday," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.
The Grizzlies held a 10-point edge entering the fourth and maintained a comfortable edge in the final frame until Portland made a late charge.
Gasol hit a jumper with 5 1/2 minutes to play that gave Memphis a 94-82 lead. Arron Afflalo, who missed the first two games of the series with a shoulder injury, and Batum each nailed 3-pointers during a 9-0 burst that cut the Blazers deficit to three with 2:23 on the clock.
Tony Allen quieted the crowd with a layup, then Randolph converted two free throws before Allen dropped in a transition dunk to restore a nine-point lead with 1:14 remaining.
Batum fired in a 3-pointer out of a timeout before Portland elected to foul and lengthen the game. It did not work, though, as Memphis went 15-of-16 in the final 1:09 to secure the win.
Game 5, if needed, will be Wednesday night in Memphis.