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Grizzlies vs. Raptors Game Preview: Memphis at full strength for rematch with Toronto

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Will the Grizzlies come out motivated after a disappointing home loss on MLK Day? Can they avenge the Stomach Virus Game earlier this season?

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Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
2014/15 NBA Season
vs
2014/15:
29-12 (16-5 home)
2014/15:
27-14 (11-7 away)
January 21st, 2015
FedexForum in Memphis, TN
7:00 PM CDT
Fox SportSouth / 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Kyle Lowry
Courtney Lee SG Greivis Vasquez
Tony Allen SF DeMar Derozan
Zach Randolph PF Amir Johnson
Marc Gasol C Jonas Valanciunas
2014/15 Advanced Stats
94.2 (T-26th) Pace 96.0 (16th)
105.2 (T-10th) OEff 109.3 (4th)
102.2 (11th) DEff 104.6 (20th)
50.1 (15th) RebR 50.0 (T-16th)

For more on the Raptors, check out Raptors HQ!
Injury Report

Memphis: None (just the absence of Adams, Stokes, and Smith from D-League reassignment.)

Toronto: None

Recently for the Raptors

Toronto has lost 7 of their last 10 games, and the 3 wins they managed to compile came against Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Boston. DeMar Derozan is four games into his return from a torn left adductor longus tendon (groin injury), and while he played well in the first 3, Derozan summoned the remaining spirit of Rudy Gay and went 0-9 from the field in the 26 minutes he played on Monday against the Bucks. In the same game, we saw Kyle Lowry hoist 25 shots (!!!) and only make 8 of them, including 1-9 from beyond the arc. This is roughly the definition of "reeling", and it won't get any easier for the two Toronto stars as they have Mike Conley and Tony Allen glued to their shorts all night.

Recently for the Grizzlies

The addition of Jeff Green is still paying some early dividends, but I'd personally like to see him take far fewer shots from long range. It's not just because he's not very good at them -- which looks like pure fact at this point -- it has more to do with how effective he is when driving through the paint towards the rim. Opponents don't seem to be ready for this new aspect of the Grizzlies' offense. On the flip side, the Grizzlies are still struggling to guard 3-point shooters, and if they want to save themselves a few headaches tonight they'd be wise to make it a priority. Toronto isn't the best 3-point shooting team, but they will shoot a heck of a lot of them. And as we've seen this year, if you shoot enough against Memphis they often start going in.

Three Things To Watch For

  • Full Bloom Mike vs. Slumping Lowry - It'll be fun to watch this matchup again after the article from Grantland.com this morning that frames the dynamic relationship between Conley and Lowry. Not that Kyle has regressed to anything less than a stellar player, but this is a season in which Mike is shooting 3s at a career high (42.4%) and Lowry at a below-career-average clip (33.2%).
  • Tony Allen playing time - It was obvious that Joerger showed some preference to Jeff Green in the game against Dallas on Monday, but that might have been CDJ's way of getting Green extra time to gel with the starters (with whom he does not currently start). Green doesn't appear to be as big a liability on defense as some would have thought -- many thought the opposite -- but when you need crunch time defensive stops, the obvious choice still seems to be Tony Allen. This will likely end up being one of the issues that defines Dave Joerger's 2014-15 season.
  • Zach Randolph rolling - ZBo has posted 6 straight double-doubles since his return from a knee issue on a 19/14 average per game. These aren't just gaudy, padded stats though; Zach is playing exceptionally well on both ends of the floor. He's also elevating the play of his teammates, as he's averaging 2.7 assists per game this month, a rate well above both his season and career averages. He's got another great matchup tonight against the smaller Amir Johnson, and I foresee a big night from #50.
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