In their first game back since that disappointing blowout loss to the Detroit Pistons before the Christmas break, the Raptors fell flat against the Memphis Grizzlies, falling to 10-20 on the season. Toronto was shorthanded against the Grizz, missing Andrea Bargnani who was not with the team, dealing with a strained calf. They were also without the services of Sonny Weems for a fourth straight game as Weems is still dealing with the back spasms.
While they got off to a quick start and led by as many as 12 points in the first quarter, they trailed by four at the break and the Grizzlies went inside in the second to take over the game. Memphis dominated in the paint thanks to solid nights from Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph. Randolph scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half while Gay finished with 18 points, five rebounds, six assists and five steals, offsetting his five turnovers.
Joey Dorsey started in place of Bargnani and while he fouled out in just under 30 minutes of play, he gave what he had, finishing with 10 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and three assists. Dorsey was 0-for-5 from the free throw line as the Raptors made just 5-for-14 of their attempts at the line, compared to 23-for-28 of the Grizzlies’ attempts. Linas Kleiza had 22 points to lead the Raptors, but again, continued to rack up the turnovers, giving the ball away five times as the Raptors finished with 25 turnovers as a team.
DeMar DeRozan finished with 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting, in another positive for the Raptors, but they just did not have enough in the tank (or on the bench) to help them when the Grizz got going on their homefloor. While the Raptors had five players reach double figures, the team shot 50 percent from the floor and had three more made field goals than Memphis, those awful free throw statistics stand out even more.
For the Raptors to win they have to play inspired and smart basketball. For the Raptors to win without Andrea Bargnani, that needs to be damn near perfect basketball. 25 turnovers and nine missed free throws is not going to cut it.
The Raptors will face Dallas tomorrow. The Mavs won against Oklahoma City 103-93 despite losing Dirk Nowitzki after 11 minutes with a knee sprain. Nowitzki will undergo an MRI tomorrow morning, but his status for the game tomorrow evening is not yet known. Both teams will be on the second night of a back-to-back, but this one could get ugly in a hurry.
Raptors Player of the Game: Joey Dorsey – 29 min, 10 pts, 13 rebs, 3 asts, 5-6 fgs, 0-5 fts, 1 stl, 1 blk (only starter with a + +/-)
Grizzlies Player of the Game: Rudy Gay – 40 min, 18 pts, 5 rebs, 6 asts, 6-13 fgs, 5-6 fts, 5 stls, 1 blk