PORTLAND, Ore. -- While guard Mike Conley says the Memphis Grizzlies are pushing for home court advantage in the playoffs, coach Lionel Hollins maintains it doesn't really matter.
History tells Hollins so.
"The players may think about it but I just want us to play well," he said. "We had home court last year and we lost the series. We've been in series where we didn't have home court and we won. Wherever you go you've just got to play well."
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"We were all about business tonight," Conley said. "We understood that this is a game we needed to win. Obviously, we are chasing that homecourt advantage so need we need every one we can get."
The Grizzlies have won four straight to move to 51-24 this season, surpassing its 50-win season in 2003-04.
They have already clinched a spot in the playoffs and are jockeying for homecourt advantage in the first round. Memphis sits in fifth place in the Western Conference, a game and a half back of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Zach Randolph, who played his first six seasons with Portland from 2001-07, added 17 points and eight rebounds for Memphis.
The Blazers, who are effectively out of the playoffs with seven games left, were without two starters, LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum. As a result, the team started rookies Victor Claver, Meyers Leonard and Damian Lillard.
Memphis took advantage and led by as many as 18 in the first half. Portland (33-42) got within single digits midway through the third quarter, but could not catch up.
Lillard and J.J. Hickson led the Blazers with 17 points apiece.
"We just have to play for each other," Hickson said. "You sit in the locker room and you look at guys, you look at the guy next to you. That's what it's all about. It's about playing and not giving in."
The Grizzlies were without rookie guard Tony Wroten because of a migraine. But earlier in the day, Memphis announced that it had signed 12-year veteran Keyon Dooling to add depth to the roster for the playoffs.
Dooling retired last September after playing for the Boston Celtics last season. Over his career, Dooling has averaged 7.0 points, 1.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists. He played the final 1 minute, 55 seconds and missed a 3-point attempt with 37 seconds left.
Aldridge was missing his fourth consecutive game because of a sprained right ankle. The two-time All-Star is averaging 21 points and 8.9 rebounds this season.
Batum has a labral tear in his right shoulder, causing him decreased strength and sensation. He apparently sustained the injury on Monday in Portland's 112-102 loss to Utah.
The 6-foot-8 French forward, who is averaging 14.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists, will be re-evaluated Friday before the Blazers host Houston.
Austin Daye hit a 3-pointer early in the second quarter that gave the Grizzlies a 39-23 lead. Randolph's hook shot extended it to 43-25, and Memphis took a 57-46 advantage into the half.
"I thought it was a solid win," Hollins said. "Early on offensively, we were executing very well and we were getting whatever shot we wanted. Then in the second half, our defense really amped it up. We held them to 30 points in the second half. We just had a good focus and we played a solid game all over."
The Grizzlies visit the Lakers on Friday.
|Portland's Damian Lillard (0) is too late to defend against Mike Conley's drive to the basket. (USATSI)|
|Memphis (51-24) «||32||25||20||17||94|
|MEM:M. Conley 20 Pts
MEM:E. Davis 10 Reb
MEM:J. Bayless 7 Ast
|POR:J. Hickson 17 Pts
POR:J. Hickson 9 Reb
POR:E. Maynor 10 Ast
|Players of the Game|
Zach Randolph Grizzlies Name and Number T-Shirt - White Shop Now!
|M. Conley, PG||31||7-11||3-6||2||5||0||20|
|T. Allen, SG||29||5-10||4-6||2||3||1||14|
|M. Gasol, C||29||3-5||0-0||5||5||3||6|
|Z. Randolph, PF||28||5-9||7-8||8||2||3||17|
|T. Prince, SF||20||3-7||0-0||1||2||0||6|
|J. Bayless, PG||28||0-8||2-2||0||7||1||2|
|Q. Pondexter, SF||24||3-4||4-4||4||1||2||10|
|E. Davis, PF||18||5-6||2-2||10||1||1||12|
|D. Arthur, PF||15||1-2||0-0||1||0||4||2|
|A. Daye, SF||11||1-2||0-0||3||1||1||3|
|J. Leuer, PF||3||1-1||0-0||0||0||0||2|
|K. Dooling, PG||2||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|D. Pittman, C||2||0-1||0-0||1||0||2||0|
|T. Wroten, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|D. Lillard, PG||41||8-19||0-1||4||6||3||17|
|W. Matthews, SG||39||5-16||0-0||2||0||3||12|
|J. Hickson, PF||37||8-12||1-3||9||2||2||17|
|M. Leonard, C||28||4-7||2-2||7||2||4||10|
|V. Claver, SF||26||3-5||0-0||2||0||2||7|
|E. Maynor, PG||31||1-4||0-0||0||10||2||2|
|J. Freeland, PF||17||3-4||1-2||3||0||4||7|
|W. Barton, SG||10||0-5||2-2||2||1||1||2|
|L. Babbitt, SF||8||0-4||0-0||1||0||1||0|
|N. Smith, PG||3||1-4||0-0||0||0||0||2|
|J. Jeffries, PF||Did Not Play|
|S. Pavlovic, SG||Did Not Play|
|L. Aldridge, PF||Did Not Play|
|N. Batum, SF||Did Not Play|
|E. Williams, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|