In front of a thundering Pyramid crowd of over 14,000, the Memphis Grizzlies surprised a lethargic Portland Trailblazers, 99-95 in the teams first preseason game at the Pyramid. Guard Michael Dickerson led all scorers with 20 points.
The Grizzlies also benefited from a trio of double-doubles as point guard Jason Williams scored 19 points and handed out 11 assists, as forward Lorenzen Wright scored 13 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, and as fellow forward Stromile Swift scored 16 points and earned 10 rebounds.
Grizzlies frosh Shane Battier only scored 11 points, but provided a necessary defensive spark with 7 steals. The Grizzlies other draft acquisition, forward Pau Gasol, saw limited action, scoring 6 points.
Portland rarely seemed interested in playing against the much maligned franchise squad. Blazers star, forward Scottie Pippen, had a particularly quiet night with only 2 points scored in 23 minutes of play. Leading the Blazers were guard Derek Anderson with 20 points, guard Damon Stoudamire with 16 points, and forward Ruben Patterson, who had 14 points.
There is a note of caution to the final outcome of the game. For one, The Trailblazers didnt act like the dominant Western coast conference power that they are. This is the pre-season, after all. For another, while Memphis A team of Williams, Dickerson, Swift, Battier, and Wright looked better than expected, the Grizzlies met real problems as its back-ups took to the floor. The Memphis bench accounted for only 20 points of the Grizzlies 99.
The Memphis squad will play its next preseason game against The L.A. Clippers at the Pyramid on Sunday, October 14, at 2 p.m.