Grizzlies open trek against Blazers

The Memphis Grizzlies will try to push their winning streak to five games on Tuesday night when they start a road trip in Portland against the Trail Blazers.

The Grizzlies have taken four in a row, but to truly appreciate how great Memphis is playing, look back over the last month. The Grizzlies have won 12 of their last 13 with the only setback a road loss to the only team hotter than them, the Miami Heat on March 1.

The Grizzlies own the fifth-best record in the NBA and playoff positioning becomes important. As of now, Memphis is in the fourth spot in the west, but only a game ahead of the Denver Nuggets. The Grizzlies could reach the top spot as they are 5 1/2 behind the Spurs both for the Western Conference lead and the top spot in the Southwest Division.

Last time out, the Grizzlies bested the New Orleans Hornets, 96-85, Saturday at home. Seven Memphis players scored in double figures, led by 22 from Mike Conley.

"We started the game playing pretty good defensively," said center Marc Gasol. "That's what we're supposed to do every game. But I think tonight we came out with a better mindset, a better start. We know we can always play better."

The Grizzlies held the Hornets to 41 first-half points. New Orleans only shot 43 percent from the field for the game and 16.7 percent from behind the 3- point line.

The Blazers have lost two of three and their last outing resulted in a loss to those same Hornets on Sunday night. Portland fell 98-96 when Ryan Anderson converted a 3-point play with less than two seconds left on the clock.

All five Portland starters scored in double figures led by 24 from Wesley Matthews and 20 from Damian Lillard.

"We were in a position to win a couple of times," head coach Terry Stotts said. "Either we didn't come up with a rebound or get a stop that we needed. We were 10 down, battled back. It's disappointing to be in that position a couple of times and not get the win."

The Blazers are three behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference playoff race. They play three in a row at home, then head east for five in a row.

The teams split the two matchups this season, which were both in Memphis. Portland has won three in a row at home in this series.