Blazers defend home court against Memphis

Portland rallied late to win second game under Canales, 97-93
March 22, 2012
Nicolas Batum, left, moves past Zach Randolph Thursday night.
(Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

Another 30-point blowout failed to appear Thursday night at the Rose Garden, being replaced instead by a pride-filled victory for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Nicolas Batum scored 24 points to lead the Blazers past Memphis, 97-93, getting the win by outscoring the Grizzlies 31-24 in the fourth quarter.

Jamal Crawford added 17 points and the Blazers went 25-for-25 at the free throw line, setting a season-best performance for the NBA.

The win moved the Blazers to 22-25 on the season and kept them within 3.5 games of a playoff berth. Interim coach Kaleb Canales improved to 2-2 on the season.

Marc Gasol scored 23 points to lead Memphis, which is tied for fifth in the super-competitive Western Conference playoff race. Six teams: Dallas, Memphis, the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston, Denver and Utah, are within 1.5 games of fourth place with the Jazz as the hottest of the group having won five straight to improve to 25-22.

Portland is behind Phoenix, 23-24, and Minnesota, 23-25, with 19 games remaining on the 66-game regular season schedule.

The Blazers play at the Los Angeles Lakers tonight, then begin a three-game homestand Sunday against the Golden State Warriors.