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Blazers lock up 6th spot in the West with win

By Anne M. Peterson

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, April 12 2011 10:40 p.m. MDT

PORTLAND, Ore. — LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 11 rebounds and the Portland Trail Blazers locked up the sixth seed in the Western Conference with a 102-89 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.

The Blazers, who won their third straight, will have to wait until the regular season's final games Wednesday night to learn their opponent for the first round of the playoffs.

Memphis, which played without starters Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, was still jockeying for seeding. The Grizzlies and New Orleans are wrestling between the final two spots with just one game to play apiece.

The Grizzlies visit the Clippers while the Hornets are at Dallas on Wednesday night. Portland wraps up the regular season at Golden State.

Apparently, Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins decided to rest Randolph and Allen, who were not in the starting lineup against the Blazers but were in uniform on the bench. There was speculation that the move was tactical to set up a favorable playoff matchup.

Randolph, who once played for the Blazers, is averaging a team-high 20.1 points and 12.2 rebounds this season. Allen is averaging 6.9 points and 2.7 rebounds.

Their absence didn't stop the Grizzlies from going ahead by as many as six points in the opening quarter, although Portland tied it at 25 on Rudy Fernandez's 3-pointer.

Portland went up 43-35 on Wesley Matthews' reverse layup before the Grizzlies rallied to tie it at 43 on Marc Gasol's jumper before pulling in front on Mike Conley's bank shot.

Andre Miller hit a pair of free throws to tie it at 45 at the break.

Aldridge went to the bench with four fouls in the third quarter, but the Blazers went up 66-59 on Gerald Wallace's fast-break layup.

Aldridge's 15-foot jumper in the final quarter put Portland up 88-75. But the Grizzlies quickly narrowed it to 88-80 on Shane Battier's 3-pointer with 5:45.

The Blazers held off the Grizzlies the rest of the way. Fernandez finished with 18 points.

Conley led the Grizzlies with 17 points. Gasol had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The Blazers saw the return of center Marcus Camby, who missed two games with a strained neck. Camby banged his head on the floor in a collision with David Lee in a loss to the Warriors last week.

Camby had four points and 11 rebounds.

NOTES: The Blazers wore their white "Rip City" jerseys. ... The Blazers signed 7-foot center Earl Barron for the rest of the season. He has played parts of five seasons with Miami, New York, Phoenix and Milwaukee. He has averaged 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds, appearing in 108 games, including 27 starts.

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