The Memphis Grizzlies came into Thursday night’s matchup with the Toronto Raptors looking for their identity again. Riding a losing streak with a healthy roster isn’t good to see at all. A great opportunity presented itself on Thursday night in Toronto against a struggling Raptors team.
Could the Grizzlies take advantage of this opportunity, and find their identity on the road?
The Grizzlies came out with a level of focus in their eye on Thursday night against the Raptors, jumping out to a 13-4 lead in the first few minutes of the first quarter. The Grizzlies established their presence defensively at the rim against the Raptors, leading to missed layups from Toronto, and to more transition opportunities for Memphis early.
Memphis shot 40% in the first quarter, and led the Raptors by as much as 15. Memphis carried a 20-10 lead to the second quarter in Toronto.
The Raptors defense to a zone which caused the Grizzlies some issues to start the second quarter. Toronto was able to cut the Grizzlies lead down to five at one point. Fortunately, the Grizzlies stayed composed throughout the second quarter.
The Grizzlies eventually figured out that zone defense, and sustained a great shooting start from the field. The Grizzlies shot 42% in the first half, and led the Raptors by as much as 20. The Grizzlies carried a 57-43 lead into the half. Dillon Brooks led the Grizzlies with 15 points.
The third quarter was going to be the icing on the cake to finding out if this Grizzlies team was out of their rut. Leading for majority of the game, and pushing off the Raptors little runs to cut the Grizzlies lead to single digits, the Grizzlies were on the cusp of ending their losing streak.
Ja Morant was a maestro in the third quarter, as he had dished out a career high 15 assists through the the third quarter. Memphis carried a 93-75 lead into the fourth quarter in Toronto.
The Raptors had one last breathe of air, as they trimmed a huge Grizzlies lead down to nine at one point. The Grizzlies answered every one of the Raptors runs throughout the night. They answered that call one last time in the fourth quarter. They had outstanding defensive rotations, followed by efficient scoring in transition.
The Grizzlies would take down the Raptors 119-106 to bounce back from their rough patch.
The Memphis Grizzlies bounce back in a huge way against the Toronto Raptors tonight as they take down Toronto 119-106!— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) December 30, 2022
Dillon Brooks led Memphis with 25 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds in 34 minutes.
Ja Morant with 19 points and 17 assists!
Dillon Brooks - 25 points (7/14 FG, 4/7 3PT), 6 assists, and 4 rebounds
Ja Morant - 19 points (9/19 FG, 1/4 3PT), and 17 assists in 35 minutes
Desmond Bane - 16 points (6/13 FG, 3/7 3PT) and 4 assists.
The Grizzlies will be back in action on New Years Eve as they return to FedExForum for a matchup with Zion Williamson and New Orleans Pelicans.