Blazers vs. Grizzlies Preview & Prediction

It's a battle of Western Conference powers on Saturday night, as the Southwest Division-leading Memphis Grizzlies host the Northwest Division-leading Portland Trail Blazers at FedExForum in Memphis.

Projected Starting Lineups

Portland Trail Blazers (42-28)

G Damian Lillard – 21.2 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.8 rpg

G Arron Afflalo – 10.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg

F Nicolas Batum – 9.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.9 apg

F LaMarcus Aldridge – 23.6 ppg, 10.5 rpg

C Robin Lopez – 9.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg

Memphis Grizzlies (48-21)

G Mike Conley –16.3 ppg, 5.3 apg

G Courtney Lee – 10.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg

F Tony Allen – 8.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.03 spg

F Zach Randolph – 16.5 ppg, 11.1 rpg

C Marc Gasol – 17.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.8 apg

What to watch for:

Can Portland turn things around?

After opening a five-game road swing with an impressive 113-97 win in Toronto, the Blazers have lost three straight, including a deflating 111-104 defeat in Orlando on Friday. Portland has fallen back to 4th in the Western Conference due to their recent scuffles, 1.5 games behind the Houston Rockets and 3 games behind their opponent tonight, Memphis, for the 2nd seed. A win tonight and the Blazers will end their road trip on a needed upswing as they jockey for position down the stretch,

Will Gasol and Z-Bo neutralize Aldridge?

Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge remains a dominating presence on the block despite playing through a thumb injury, but he'll have a hard time owning the paint against Memphis' frontcourt duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph -- both of which brutalized the Dallas Mavericks down low in a convincing 112-101 win on Friday.

Prediction: Grizzlies win 99-95

This has potential to be one of the week's most playoff-like showdowns, but we're giving Memphis the edge due to home-court advantage and a healthy Mike Conley -- one of the most underrated faciltators in all of the NBA.

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