Raptors get past short-handed Grizzlies
TORONTO -- The undermanned Memphis Grizzlies gave the Toronto Raptors all they could handle for most of the game Wednesday night.
However, youthful exuberance and grit could only take the Grizzlies so far as the Raptors posted a 120-105 victory to extend their winning streak to four games.
“These are the hardest games to play,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “I can remember two years ago this team came in and half the team had the flu, same thing. A team that most of the guys, no disrespect, are trying to make the league, and I told our guys, they’re going to come in free and easy, shooting the ball free and easy, and then we came out and helped it with (18) turnovers.”
Kyle Lowry scored 29 points and handed out eight assists, and DeMar DeRozan added 24 points and nine rebounds to lead the Raptors.
“Considering the fact that we had nine players, not that much experience, we fought hard,” said Grizzlies forward Tony Allen, who scored 12 points. “(The Raptors) are a good team, you’ve got to take your hats off to those guys. They played much better in the second half and beat us on the boards, they made key plays.”
After trailing by seven points entering the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies had the Raptors’ lead down to one point on a Marc Gasol tip-in.
Then Memphis began to miss and Toronto began to hit.
Cory Joseph, who scored 16 points off the bench, made a 3-pointer with 7:06 left to give the Raptors a seven-point lead, and Toronto was on its way.
DeMarre Carroll, who scored 17 on the game, nailed a 3-pointer with 4:10 remaining, and the Raptors led 107-95.
“The effort was fantastic,” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said. “I thought we just had a bad stretch where we got careless with the ball and started turning the ball over.”
Patrick Patterson added 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Raptors (12-6).
The Grizzlies, who were missing several players mostly because of injuries, got a team-high 21 points from point guard Andrew Harrison, usually a reserve.
“I know we were short-handed, but we’ve got a lot of tough guys on this team and we all believed that we could win this game,” Harrison said. “Losing Mike (Conley) was big, he’s an MVP candidate in my eyes, but we know what we have to do, we have to bring it every night.”
Harrison took responsibility for letting the game get out of control.
“It’s something that’s on me, getting into sets, getting into plays, not getting shots, turnovers,” he said. “Having a stretch of three or four or five turnovers in a row, and that really hurt us. And they took advantage and they made some big shots.”
Gasol contributed 18 points and eight rebounds. Troy Daniels added 19 points off the bench, JaMychal Green chipped in with 16, and Troy Williams had 10 for Memphis, which lost its second in a row.
”When you play a team like that and you got a lot of young guys put in a position where they have to step up, they are going to play extremely hard,“ DeRozan said. ”There are going to be lot of things you are not used to seeing or you are not expecting. They jumped out on us. They have that culture of being a hard-playing team anyway, and all those guys followed suit. We just had to make adjustments.
“A lot of it was on us. Rushing, just trying to make a more difficult pass than the easy pass. Just that alone could have cut the turnovers in half.”
Gasol scored 11 points in the first quarter to give Memphis a 28-25 lead.
The Grizzlies (11-8) scored the first five points of the second quarter, including a 3-pointer by Harrison.
The Raptors took a 36-35 lead on a 3-pointer by Patterson. Gasol hit a 3-pointer with 5:53 left in the half, and Memphis led by four points.
The Grizzlies, who were on top by as many as eight points during the half, took a 57-55 lead into the intermission.
The Raptors took a 60-59 lead early in the third quarter on Lowry’s 3-pointer, and DeRozan bumped the advantage to three points with a 19-foot jumper.
Harrison scored the next five on a 3-point shot and a layup to put Memphis back in front by two points.
Patterson gave Toronto a five-point lead on a layup with 2:21 left in the third quarter as the Raptors took advantage of a Grizzlies turnover.
The Raptors led 89-82 after the third quarter and led by nine when a jumper by Joseph opened the scoring in the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Memphis G Mike Conley (transverse vertebral fractures in lower back) will be out for about six weeks after being injured in the third quarter Monday in the loss to the Charlotte Hornets. ... Grizzlies G/F Vince Carter (right hip flexor) also missed the game Wednesday after being injured in the fourth quarter on Monday. ... F James Ennis (right calf), F Chandler Parsons (left knee), F/C Brandan Wright (left ankle) and F Zach Randolph (personal) also were out for Memphis. ... Raptors G Kyle Lowry became the first player in team history to go 6-for-6 in 3-point attempts Monday in the win over the Philadelphia 76ers. ... The Grizzlies return home to face the Orlando Magic on Thursday. ... The Raptors play the third game of their six-game homestand Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers.