The Toronto Raptors continued their 6-game road trip with a visit to Tennessee to face to the Memphis Grizzlies. It was a high scoring affair, with Toronto coming out with the 128-113 win.
With the Raptors down 3 going into the final quarter, they were in familiar territory. In 11 games this season, when trailing going into the 4th, Toronto was lost all games. It has been a difficult hill to get over, but with stellar performances by their young core they was finally able to breakthrough.
Pascal Siakam scored 32 points and had 6 assists. He made a season-best 5 three’s in a game that was determined by defence. Fred VanVleet also had 32 points along with 9 assists and 3 steals. He continues to lead by example on both ends of the floor; in the 4th, it was their defence that changed the momentum of the game.
Toronto gave up 70 points in the first half. In the 3rd, Nick Nurse was assessed his second technical of the game, and was out. With Nurse sidelined, the Raptors would go on a 27-5 run fuelled by their defence. They had 8 straight stops en route to their first 4th quarter comeback of the season.
Norman Powell had a season-best 29 points and went 6 of 7 from deep. Since returning from his right quad contusion, he is averaging 22.5 points on 52% shooting and continues to shine in the starting line up. Although Powell is a team guy he does see himself as a starter in the league; when given the chance, he has taken advantage of opportunity. With Kyle Lowry leaving the game due to back spasms and OG Anunoby nearing a return, it seems Powell will continue to have his spot in the starting rotation.
In the loss, former Raptor Jonas Valanciunas led the Grizzlies with 27 points and 20 rebounds. He shot an efficient 66.7% and made 11 of 12 free throws. It was only the 2nd time Valanciunas has played against Toronto since being traded to Memphis.
Ja Morant had 18 points on 29.4% shooting. Despite all their starters scoring in double digits, it wasn’t enough. In the final 12 minutes, the Grizzlies were limited to 16 points, while the Raptors exploded for 34. For the first time in 11 tries, Toronto looked more like their old self as they closed out the the game.
Game note: Toronto is currently 3-1 on their 6-game road trip. They return home for 1 game before they’re on the road again for 3 games.
Next up.. Toronto faces Bradley Beal and the 6-15 Washington Wizards. They will need to contain Beal, who is averaging a career-best 33.2 points per game. Tip off is 7pm EASTERN at Capital One Arena.