Due to the Grizzlies’ origins in Vancouver, Memphis and the Toronto Raptors are two inextricably linked teams. The Raptors headed into Monday night’s face-off riding a three-game win streak, while the Grizzlies aimed to avoid falling below .500 after dropping their last three.
First Quarter: Toronto leads the league in both forcing turnovers and points off turnovers. They lived up to their reputation to begin this one — the Raptors got out to an early 9-2 lead behind seven points off three Memphis turnovers. Norman Powell–who’s averaging excess of 20 points per game over his last six–was torrid from beyond the arc, nailing his first three treys and tallying nine points before the quarter’s halfway point. But the Grizzlies weathered the storm that was Powell and didn’t allow the Raptors any breathing room on the scoreboard. After committing three turnovers in rapid succession to begin the game, Memphis registered just one more over the duration of the period and played their unselfish, by-committee brand of basketball. Grayson Allen led the charge for the Grizzlies with nine points off the bench. Toronto held a slim 35-34 edge at the end of 12.
end of the 1st!— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) February 9, 2021
Allen - 9 points, 3 3s
Ja - 8 points, 4 assists
JV - 6 points, 6 rebounds
Second Quarter: The opening of the second was a rock fight. Both teams upped their defensive intensity from the first, which resulted in a 43-43 score at the seven-minute mark — they combined for only 15 points over the first five minutes. Then the Raptors caught fire from distance. Within minutes, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and Norman Powell all found the bottom of the net from deep. Still, the Grizzlies competed valiantly, and thanks in large part to Ja Morant’s playmaking heroics (who dished out seven dimes in the half) and a double-double from Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis scored 27 points over the final seven minutes and led by seven, 70-63.
Third Quarter: Ja Morant has regained his mojo after a subpar stretch of games recently. He expeditiously scored seven points to usher in the third, highlighted by a three-pointer and an alley-oop flush. Another Grizzly who put together a bounce-back showing? Dillon Brooks, who with five quick points at the midway point of the quarter extended the Memphis lead to nine. Additionally, Valanciunas continued to feast inside in the third, so much so that Raptors coach Nick Nurse got ejected after arguing the Lithuanian traveled on one of his scores. But with all that said, careless passing plagued the Grizzlies in the final moments of the third. As a result, Memphis’ once nine-point edge evaporated almost entirely. The Grizzlies entered the final frame with a three-point advantage.
end of the 3rd— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) February 9, 2021
JV - 22 points, 17 rebounds
Ja - 18 points, 8 assists
Brooks - 17 points, 2 blocks
Allen - 12 points
Bane - 11 points, 3 assists
Anderson - 11 points
Fourth Quarter: The Raptors held all the momentum at the start of the fourth — Memphis took a quick timeout after Toronto obtained a four-point lead, culminating a 16-2 run that originated in the third. Unfortunately for Memphis, the Raptors lead continued to balloon from this point on. Toronto turned 15 Grizzlies mistakes into 26 points, a number that ultimately decided the outcome of this one. Norman Powell lit up Memphis for a season-high 29 points on 10-for-17 accuracy from the field. The Grizzlies got demolished in the fourth to the tune of 34-16 and fell 128-113.
LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, and the Charlotte Hornets are next up on the Beale Street Bears calendar. The point guard battle between Ball and Morant should make for some compelling basketball. Tune in on Wednesday at 7 pm CT.