The Memphis Grizzlies have been searching for their identity, as their style of play and effort have been very unpredictable over the past couple of weeks. While news stories have been circulating the past few days as the Grizzlies mulled over their embarrassing loss Saturday, Memphis prepared to face another team that’s been struggling. The Toronto Raptors came into tonight’s match on a four game losing streak, including a two point loss against the San Antonio Spurs last night at home.
The Grizzlies had to shake things up tonight in the starting lineup as both Chandler Parsons and JaMychal Green were out due to injury. Zach Randolph and James Ennis started in their places.
In the first quarter, Marc Gasol came out with guns blazin’. He scored the Grizzlies’ first 16 points of the game, including 3 threes. By the end of the quarter, he had racked up 19 points already. The Grizzlies got off to a fast start thanks to Marc’s hot shooting, but after he cooled down the Raptors regained the lead, thanks in part to 12 points by Norman Powell in the first quarter. At the end of the period, the Raptors led Memphis, 34-32.
With less than 6 minutes left in the half, Toronto led the Grizzlies 49-42. However, Memphis surged back and tied the game up at 51. At the half, Memphis found themselves down 57-56. Marc Gasol had 23 points at the half, and Kyle Lowry had 9 points and 4 assists. What was most detrimental for the Grizzlies in the first half was that they allowed the Raptors to pull down 10 offensive rebounds, while only grabbing 2 themselves.
In the third, Marc continued his offensive tear and had 36 points at the end of the third. During the period, both teams wrestled for the lead, but Memphis jumped out to a 10 point lead going into the fourth and had 10 threes at that point.
However, the Raptors weren’t giving up. Thanks to a pair of free throws with 4:47 remaining, Marc Gasol reached 40 points, a new career high for him. But then the Raptors immediately cut the lead down to 6 with 3:32 left. An and-one three pointer by Kyle Lowry then cut the deficit to two points with two minutes remaining. Lowry came in clutch again and made another jumper on the next possession to tie the game up at 99. On the next possession, Marc was fouled and made two free throws to give Memphis the lead. After terrific defense by Memphis, Toronto came up empty on offense. So Memphis escaped a late game scare, 101-99.
For the Raptors, Kyle Lowry ended up with 29 points, while Norman Powell had 21. For Memphis, Marc Gasol ended with an impressive 42, and Tony Allen had 15 points and 11 rebounds. In addition, Zach Randolph had 16 points and 8 rebounds in his starting role tonight for the Grizzlies.
Now, Memphis face the Portland Trail Blazers on the road Friday night.