Although the Memphis Grizzlies (21-15) won last night in Toronto, they can't help but feel rather disappointed by the win. The Raptors (11-25) are in the midst of rebuilding and their best player, Andrea Bargnani, has been out for past 19 games. In spite of this, the Grizzlies never built a large lead and allowed the Raptors to remain in the game. Ultimately, the game was decided in the final minute. Rudy Gay calmly drained a jumper over Aaron Gray to give Memphis the lead. On the other end, Linas Kleiza missed a shot, and OJ Mayo not only grabbed the rebound, but threw the ball upcourt to a streaking Tony Allen, who put the ball in and was fouled for an and-one opportunity. Allen failed to sink the free throw, but Jose Calderon failed to convert the long three which would have tied the game.
The major story of the game was the Grizzlies' poor defense. Though Memphis scored 24 points by forcing 16 turnovers, they routinely allowed a poor offensive team to score. Toronto shot 52.8% from the floor as a team, and were led by Jerryd Bayless' efficient 18 points (5-9 FG, 7-7 FT). Additionally, five other Raptors scored at least 10 points.
Rudy Gay was the best player on the floor for the night, going 8-15 from the floor for 23 points while also pulling down 12 rebounds. Mike Conley (21 points), Marc Gasol (21 points), and OJ Mayo (16 points) also contributed. Dante Cunningham was again a key player off Memphis, with 11 points and 4 rebounds in 24 minutes. Throughout the season, he has proven to be a valuable role player, especially due to his low cost.
After last night's win, Memphis has now passed both the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference. Tonight the Grizzlies are play the Detroit Pistons and hope to solidify their lead in the standings.