NBA scores and schedule: Best of the West matchup in Memphis
Golden State brings its 16-game winning streak into Memphis where it will be challenged to do something only one team has done this season; beat the Grizzlies at home.
Lopez suffered the injury when chasing after a rebound in the Blazers’ 108-95 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night. The big man will visit a hand specialist on Tuesday to seek another opinion.
Lopez has been a key cog for the Blazers since coming to Portland from the New Orleans Pelicans in a three-way deal in July 2013. The 26-year-old had played in every single game the last two years prior to this injury and has been an ideal fit next to LaMarcus Aldridge.
Lopez is averaging 9.6 points and 7.2 rebounds on the season while shooting 50.5 percent from the field. The seven-footer has also provided stellar rim protection and is averaging 1.5 blocks on the year.
With Lopez out, Chris Kaman, Joel Freeland and perhaps even Meyers Leonard will have to step up in his place. None of these players offer the type of defensive presence Lopez does, which means the Blazers’ sixth-ranked defense may be due for a bit of a fall.
That’s especially true given the run of upcoming opponents. After a home date with the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, Portland has to go on the road for games against the Spurs, Pelicans, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Blazers are currently 19-6, which is good for fourth in the Western Conference. However, a string of losses could drop Portland down to seventh. If the Blazers can escape their tough road trip with a win or two, the schedule softens up for a bit before Lopez is due to return.