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Trail Blazers hold off Grizzlies to clinch No. 8 seed in the playoffs

Portland will go on to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs after defeating Memphis in the play-in tournament.

Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 31, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies take on each other in a very rare event before the NBA Playoffs. Portland and Memphis are competing in a play-in tournament to decide who claims the 8-seed into the postseason from the West. The game tips off at 2:30 p.m. ET and can be watched on ABC.

So the format is pretty simple. If the Blazers win, they’re in. If the Grizzlies win, we run it back on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Whoever wins the play-in tournament and takes the 8-seed has the privilege of facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs starting next week.

DraftKings is offering Showdown contests for Grizzlies-Blazers. You can enter the contest here. If you need some help crafting a lineup, check out the link below for Showdown analysis from Ameer Tyree.

We’ll be following all the action throughout the game here.

Final — Trail Blazers 126, Grizzlies 122 — Portland has clinched the No. 8 seed in the West after a win over Memphis on Saturday afternoon. The Blazers will face the Lakers in the first round next week. The Grizzlies end their season in disappointment after having a 3.5 game lead over the Blazers for the 8-seed heading into the bubble. Still, you’ve got to give credit to Memphis for fighting in this one. Dame, Nurk and McCollum really fought back to lift Portland to a huge win. Now, they’ve got their sights set on LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Dame finished with 31 points, so he didn’t hit his point total. Nurkic had a huge game with 21 points, 21 rebounds and 6 assists. McCollum stepped up huge with Lillard struggling, scoring 29 points. Morant had a career-high 35 points while Valanciunas finished with 22-17-6 to almost match Nurkic.

5:00 p.m. — Melo hits a huge shot from downtown and the Blazers are up by 6 with just about 20 seconds left in the game. Anthony’s clutch dagger could be it for Memphis. The Grizzlies will need a quick 3-pointer and then some help to stay alive. It’s looking like the Blazers will face the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs starting next week.

4:55 p.m. — Props to Ja for this one. He’s got a career high right now and the Grizz can still win it. Morant stepped up in the biggest game of his NBA career — albeit it brief. We should see Ja continue to build confidence and turn into one of the premier guards in the League for a long time.

4:52 p.m. — The Blazers have regained the lead and then some, up 119-113 and it’s looking like the Grizzlies might be finished. The OVER has hit, so rest easy if you had that. McCollum has heated up with a couple of HUGE 3-pointers late. Nurkic has continued to be a force down low and is over 20-20 on the day. McCollum has 14 of his 29 in the fourth quarter. Portland is eyeing that 8-seed and matchup with the Lakers baby!

4:46 p.m. — We’ve got a Gary Trent alert! Trent banged a big 3-pointer on one end and then picked up a steal on the other end. The Blazers are down 109-107 and Nurk is at the line to try and tie the game. This one will go down to the wire most likely. We could even get OT. The Over is looking good to hit as well with just under 4:00 minutes left in the game and we’re at 216 total points.

4:42 p.m. — The refs just missed a big call on the Grizzlies being out of bounds on a saved ball. Jonas got a bucket as a result. The Blazers are at the line and have made it a one-point game, 105-104. Ja Morant has really matched Dame in this one. Morant is having a huge game with 28 points. His ability to blow past defenders has been a difference-maker and we’ll see if he can lift his team in such a huge spot.

4:37 p.m. — Nurk was just called for an offensive foul so the lead is still 101-98 Grizzlies. Memphis has had a few chances to extend the lead but have made some mistakes. The Grizzlies are playing more loose though, which is good. I think it’ll come down to whether or not Dame wills the Blazers to a win or if we go to another game on Sunday. If I were the Blazers, I wouldn’t want to play the Grizzlies again on Sunday.

4:32 p.m.Grayson Allen just picked up a bad technical foul after he was called for a foul on Damian Lillard. So after the Grizzlies went up by 8 points, the lead is looking like it’ll be back down to 3 points. Allen clearly had a block on Lillard and had a right to be upset. It was a horrible call by the ref. The damage is done though, Memphis can’t challenge after Dame already took free throws.

Third Quarter update — So Brandon Clarke banged four 3-pointers in the third quarter and is up to 20 off the bench for Memphis. It’s 94-89 Grizzlies after three. Ja Morant had a big quarter and has 21 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Dame continues to struggle, but is up to 26 points and 7 assists. The Grizz scored 42 points in the third and we saw a combined 73 points in the quarter — 183 total so far. So we just need 47 points total in the fourth to hit the over of 229. The Grizz are looking good on that +6 spread.

4:22 p.m. — Clarke has nailed 3 from downtown and Lillard answers with his 5th trey of the game on the other end. It’s 91-89 as the third is winding down.

4:17 p.m. — Memphis has extended the lead to 6 points and the Grizz lead 86-80 as we work towards the end of the third quarter. Ja Morant just flashed to the basket for a jam. He’s up to 21 points. The Blazers have allowed the Grizzlies to shoot nearly 50% from the field and that’s been the difference in the game really. The Blazers can’t really buy a bucket right now and they aren’t getting to the line like they were in the first half.

4:14 p.m. — DAME GOOD LORD. Lillard just posterized Jonas and then Clarke hit another 3-pointer on the other end. Every time the Blazers get some momentum, the Grizzlies seem to come right back and answer. Nurkic is up to 17 points, 18 rebounds and 6 assists as well. This game is getting wild.

4:12 p.m. — The Grizzlies aren’t going away in this game. They’re going to make the Blazers work for that 8-seed. Memphis is hanging around and it’s been back and forth in the third. Ja Morant has stepped up and is up to 19 points. Books has 17 for the Grizz.

4:05 p.m. — It might be getting close to Dame time. Lillard has 8 points in the third quarter and we’re only at the 8:00 minutes mark. On the other end, Kyle Anderson has had a really great game for the Grizz. He’s making plays off the dribble and getting the ball to teammates in position to score.

Injury Update: Collins is questionable to return to the game due to an ankle injury.

4:03 p.m. Brooks hits a desperation 3-pointer to make it 65-61 but then he picks up a foul on the other end. The Grizzlies are hanging by a thread here in the second half. It feels like the Blazers are about to open up a big run and take this game. Let’s see if Memphis can hold it together and prevent a big run like in the first.

4:00 p.m. — So Wenyen Gabriel has started the second half in place of Zach Collins. Gabriel played well in the first half. The Blazers need someone who can bring some defensive intensity on the wing.

3:43 p.m. — The second quarter is done and the Blazers lead 58-52 thanks to Nurkic, who has 15 points and 17 rebounds. Damian Lillard has 13 points and has been quiet. The big men have dominated early on. Valanciunas has 16 points and 6 boards for Memphis. We’ve got 110 points at halftime, so still not quite on pace to hit that 229 over. Dame’s player props are also in trouble. If you had him at over 37.5 points, he’s got a lot of work to do.

3:40 p.m. — Where is Dame? It hasn’t been Dame time all game. He’s got three 3-pointers and that’s just about it for Lillard in this game. The Blazers have been fine, leaning on Nurkic, but at some point when it’s close, Lillard will need to get it going.

3:32 p.m. — This has got to be a tough game for Nurkic but he’s been carrying the Blazers so far. Nurk is up to 11 points and 14 rebounds with 2 steals and 2 assists. Nurk has two 3-pointers also. The Blazers are back up by 6 after trailing for parts of the second quarter. Another run by Portland and we could see a double-digit lead at halftime.

3:27 p.m. Valanciunas has 14 points in the second quarter. Melo has a few buckets, but if you watch the offense, the Blazers need to find Gary Trent Jr. on the wings. He’s been wide open from distance on a few of these possessions. The Grizzlies have really stepped up the intensity on defense. Everyone out there. The Blazers are a little shook. Shots aren’t falling for Portland and its defense isn’t making plays.

3:25 p.m. — Dame took a knee to the head from Valanciunas on that loose ball and it looks to be affecting him a bit. Lillard is staying in the game for now, but we’ll keep an eye on him moving forward. He’s just hit two 3-pointers in the quarter. The Grizzlies are really pushing to extend the lead. Portland needs Dame to fight back and keep it close.

3:23 p.m. — Dame and Brooks trade 3-pointers. We’re starting to get to the pace we thought this game would be at. Dame hits another 3-pointer and it’s tied 39-39. Back and forth in the second quarter. HERE WE GO!

3:22 p.m. — Whiteside picks up his 3rd foul of the game and Nurkic is coming back in. We shouldn’t see much of Whiteside the rest of the game, to be honest. Well, at least that’s what I’d do if I were Terry Stotts. Whiteside is a liability on the floor and doesn’t add much on offense.

3:20 p.m. — The Grizzlies are doing a good job getting to the line in the second quarter, which was an emphasis for coach Taylor Jenkins before the start of the frame. The Grizzlies have come all the way back to cut the lead to one point right now.

3:15 p.m. — Immediate response from the Grizz. Memphis has gone on a run and has cut the Blazers lead to 7 points early in the second quarter. Valanciunas is taking advantage down low with Nurk on the sidelines to start the quarter. Jonas has 8 points and 4 boards. If the Grizzlies can keep this up and continue to contain Dame, it should stay close.

3:10 p.m. — The Blazers lead 31-19 after the first quarter. So that’s a combined 50 points, which would have us on pace for 200 points, far below the O/U of 229. Memphis needs to pick it up in the second quarter if OVER bettors are going to be happy at the end of this one.

3:08 p.m. — The Grizzlies aren’t going to be able to do much if the Blazers run these huge lineups with Nurk and Hassan Whiteside down low. Anthony Tolliver and Kyle Anderson are both in foul trouble. Jonas Valanciunas is out of the game. Memphis has a lot of issues right now.

3:07 p.m. — The issue with the Grizz is the absence of Jaren Jackson Jr. Memphis really has no one outside of Ja Morant that can create offense. Dillon Brooks is a streaky shooter and Jonas Valanciunas has been held in check by the Blazers’ bigs. Brooks or someone like Grayson Allen is going to have to get hot from outside to get the Grizz back in this one. Or Morant will have to go hero ball.

3:02 p.m. — Nurk bangs a 3-pointer and the Blazers are up by 14 early on. This one might be over pretty quickly. The Blazers have opened things up and are rolling right now. Memphis needs to go on a run or start playing defense if it wants a shot at Sunday. The spread isn’t looking so hot for Grizzlies bettors right now. Blazers could run away with this one. The O/U is on an OK pace if Portland continues to score like this. The big lead and stakes means we should see the Grizzlies take the foot off the gas either.

3:00 p.m. — The Blazers really need to get some mismatches down low going. The Grizzlies are using a smaller lineup with Brandon Clarke at the PF. The rookie is vulnerable to bigs like Nurk and Zach Collins. Even Carmelo Anthony should be able to score easily on Clarke.

2:57 p.m. — The Blazers are starting to get some separation and are hitting jumpers. Jusuf Nurkic is cleaning the glass with five boards already. The pace is starting to pick up as well.

2:52 p.m. — We’re at a TV timeout and Dame just banged a 3-pointer to get the Blazers ahead. The pace of this game is definitely down so far, which isn’t a great start for the OVER of 229 points. We’ve still got a ways to go and both teams came out relatively flat.

2:49 p.m. — The Grizz have an early lead so looking good against that spread of 6 points. The Blazers have started off the game pretty cold from the field. Somebody needs to start hitting shots. There’s clearly some nerves setting in for Portland right now.

2:42 p.m. CJ McCollum gets us started with the first two points. The Blazers SG playing with a small fracture in his back like he’s a hockey player. Warrior.

2:41 p.m. — Here we go baby! Playoff basketball is back! It only took us an extra couple months, but this is what we waited for ... and a bad toss, run it back!

2:27 p.m. — We’re almost ready to get going for Blazers-Grizzlies! I’m backing the Blazers and Damian Lillard in this one. I think they get the job done today and spare us the Sunday afternoon contest. With that said, the spread seems a little too wide for me at 6 points. I think there’s a decent chance the Grizz cover that spread and this game is high-scoring and close for most of the day.

Final odds, betting splits

The Blazers are closing as a six-point favorite and -305 on the money line. The Grizzlies are +245 on the money line. The point total is sitting at 229, with the over -113 and the under -108.

The Blazers are getting 90 percent of money and bets to win the game, but there is a split for the point spread. 54 percent of bets are on the Grizzlies covering +6, while 52 percent of the handle is on the Blazers covering the spread. The public is backing the over to the tune of 76 percent of bets and 68 percent of handle.

Damian Lillard’s point total is installed at 37.5, with the over at +110 and the under at -134.

Last minute lineup news

Tyus Jones will not play on Saturday while he deals with a knee injury.