PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Marc Gasol scored 21 points, and the Memphis Grizzlies overcame a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a 98-92 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge was a late scratch for the Blazers because of a right thumb sprain. It was unclear how the four-time All-Star injured the thumb; he was out warming up with the team before the game.
The Grizzlies, off to the best start in franchise history at 40-14, were coming off a 10-day layoff because of the All-Star break.
Portland carried a 77-64 lead into the final period, but Kosta Koufos connected on a hook shot and Gasol made a jumper to get Memphis within two at 85-83. Gasol hit another jumper before Tony Allen’s dunk gave Memphis the lead with 4:13 left.
Nicolas Batum’s 3-pointer put Portland ahead 90-89, but Courtney Lee answered for Memphis with a layup and a free throw. Damian Lillard missed a 3-pointer with 43.9 seconds left before Gasol’s jumper helped secure the win for Memphis.
Lee had 19 points for the Grizzlies, who hadn’t played since a 105-89 loss at Oklahoma City back on Feb. 11.
Lillard had 18 points and seven assists for the Blazers, who were coming off a 92-76 loss at Utah on Friday night.
Portland’s two new additions, Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee, joined the team for the first time since they were acquired in a trade with the Nuggets on Thursday at the deadline.
The Blazers sent guard Will Barton, forwards Thomas Robinson and Victor Claver and a conditional 2016 draft pick to Denver. On Sunday the Nuggets waived Robinson and Claver.
Afflalo entered with just over five minutes left in the first quarter and the Grizzlies ahead. He hit a jumper with 4:43 to go and a short time later Batum hit a 3-pointer that gave the Blazers a 17-15 lead.
Memphis made just one of its first nine shots in the second quarter to fall behind 32-21, but the Grizzlies responded with an 11-0 run capped by Mike Conley’s tying layup. Jeff Green’s dunk put Memphis up 36-33.
The teams went into the break tied at 38.
Last month, Aldridge injured ligaments in his left thumb and decided to undergo surgery, but then reversed himself 48 hours later and decided to play out the rest of the season.
Grizzlies: Memphis won the first two meetings with the Blazers this season; a 112-99 win in Portland on Nov. 28, and a 102-98 victory on Jan. 17 at Memphis.
Trail Blazers: The Blazers honored the late Jerome Kersey, who played in Portland for 11 seasons in the 1980s and ’90s, with 25 seconds of silence, then showed a clip of him singing the national anthem in 1989 on the video scoreboard, which was met with thunderous applause at the Moda Center. Kersey died suddenly on Wednesday at age 52.
Grizzlies: Visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.
Trail Blazers: Host San Antonio on Wednesday night.
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