Records: Toronto Raptors (3-12) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (10-2)
8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
Injury Report: TOR: Anderson OUT, Fields OUT, Valanciunas DTD; MEM: Conley DTD
Opponent Blog: Raptors HQ
Mike Conley's absence due to flu-like symptoms on Monday night revealed how important he is to our team. For the first time this season, Coach Hollins was forced to switch up the lineup and start Jerryd Bayless at point. Bayless' performance could have been better: he went 3 for 11.
Tonight, though, Bayless' play has a little bit more meaning.
Jerryd Bayless was snagged out of his free agency after spending a majority of the past two seasons with Toronto - meaning he was in a different jersey the last time Toronto played Memphis.
As a Raptor, Bayless destroyed the Grizzlies: 46 total points and 13 assists across two games at point guard. He finished his last Grizzlies matchup leading the team to their first win against Grizzlies in 7 games.
Leaving the Bayless story, tonight's matchup is shaping up to be a runaway for Memphis. The Raptors are a dismal 3-12 this season and are coming in with a 5-game losing streak. This season Toronto is 1-8 on the road. In their most recent loss, a 117-101 loss to Houston, Toronto committed 16 turnovers to lead to a whopping 27 points by Houston. Jeremy Lin had arguably his best game in a Rockets jersey with 16 points and 10 assists.
Toronto's biggest threat is to our perimeter defense - Bargnani kept Toronto close in their game against Houston, shooting 7 of 9 from the field and hitting three 3-pointers in the first half alone. With a chance of Conley being out tonight, I think Tony Allen will have a hard time handling the outside by himself.
Ultimately, though, if Toronto's turnovers beat them in Houston, they're going to face a big challenge when they come into the Forum against the best team in the league at forcing turnovers - we've forced at least 10 turnovers in 116 consecutive games (the longest streak in the league). Behind this streak is Conley's 2.2 steals per game and Tony Allen's 1.9 steals per game.
If the Grizzlies play like the Grizzlies (Hey! I can say that now!), we shouldn't have a problem tonight playing in front of a home crowd against a struggling Raptors team.