• Portland will be without starting forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, who will miss his fourth straight game with a sprained ankle, and Nicolas Batum, who aggravated a shoulder injury at Utah Monday night and will sit out.  It means the Blazers’ starting lineup will feature three rookies — point guard Damian Lillard, forward Victor Claver and center Meyers Leonard.
    Lionel Hollins didn’t want to hear about the Blazers’ injury situation.
  • “That’s their issue,” the Memphis coach said. “I have to worry about my team and how we go out and play. We’ve won games at less than full strength and other teams have done the same thing. That’s all I have to say about it.”
  • The Blazers, who have lost five in a row and dropped out of the playoff race, will also use rookies Joel Freeland and Will Barton more the rest of the season. “I want to be competitive,” first-year coach Terry Stotts said. “Guys like Victor and Will and Joel and Meyers, they’ll get more of a learning experience. What I’m looking for is how we play, and if we’re doing things the way we want. It’s a good teaching environment. We want to make the most of these last eight games.”
  • The Grizzlies, who have won three in a row, are battling with Denver and the L.A. Clippers for the third, fourth and fifth playoff spots in the Western Conference and homecourt advantage in the first round. How important is the latter? “We had it last year and it didn’t mean anything,” said Hollins, referring to the Grizzlies’ first-round ouster by the Clippers. “It’s about playing well playing well when we get to the playoffs. Wherever we wind up, we wind up. We’re going to try to win games while resting guys some but without sitting them out.”
  • Hollins said newly signed veteran guard Keyon Dooling “may get into the game tonight,” but that rookie guard Tony Wroten (migraine) won’t play.

Kerry Eggers

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