Gay’s 23 leads Raptors past Grizzlies 103-87

Rudy Gay’s return to Memphis was quite successful, not only for

him personally, but for his Toronto teammates.

Gay, making his first appearance in Memphis since the Grizzlies

traded him to Toronto on Jan. 30, scored 23 points, Kyle Lowry

added 21 and the Raptors beat the Memphis Grizzlies 103-87 on

Wednesday night.

Gay, who spent his first 6-plus years in the league with

Memphis, acknowledged he almost instinctively went to the home

dressing room when he entered the FedExForum. But he somewhat

downplayed the return and whether his teammates were concentrating

on him having a good game.

”I don’t think it was for me as much as we needed any win,”

Gay said. ”Obviously, you want to win every game, but for me

personally, it was more emotional.”

DeMar DeRozan, who scored 13 of his 18 points in the first

quarter, said they were aware of the importance of Gay’s

performance in his return.

”He’s definitely one of our go-to guys, so no matter if we were

playing anybody, we’re going to get him the ball and make sure he

gets going,” DeRozan said before adding, ”It was just extra

emotion for him coming back here the first time.”

The Raptors ball movement was much better than Monday’s double

overtime 110-104 loss to Houston, when Toronto had only 10 assists

from taking 114 shots. Against the Grizzlies, Toronto had 14

assists, led by Kyle Lowry’s six. Gay and DeRozan had four assists

each.

Mike Conley led Memphis with a season-high 29 points. Marc Gasol

had 18 points while Zach Randolph and Tony Allen finished with 10

points apiece. Gasol and Randolph grabbed 10 rebounds each.

Memphis outrebounded the Raptors 40-37 and led the points in the

paint 36-24. But the 8 of 15 from outside the arc for Toronto, plus

hitting 33 of 39 free throws compared to 11 of 17 for Memphis gave

the Raptors the advantage.

”I thought we were aggressive going to the basket and to the

free throw line, which is huge for us,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey

said. ”Most of all we shared the ball.”

While Gay’s return was successful, Memphis continues to struggle

in finding its identity under Dave Joerger, its new coach. Four of

the five Grizzlies losses have been by double digits and the

defense that was Memphis’ calling card in recent years and helped

the team reach the Western Conference Finals last year is not as

evident.

”We have been a team that has been very resilient in the

past,” Joerger said. ”You have to be able to take the hit and

keep coming. We will get there. We will be alright. There is

definitely a level of frustration that we aren’t playing hard

enough.”

The Raptors lead by as many as 15 in the first half before

carrying a 55-44 halftime advantage. The Raptors hit 7 of 9 shots

outside the arc before the break.

Conley got Memphis untracked early in the third scoring 10 early

points to key a Memphis run. The Grizzlies eventually pulled even

at 70 on a steal and layup by Conley, but the Raptors closed the

period on an 8-1 rally for a 78-71 lead after three.

”We just buckled down,” DeRozan said. ”We understood they

were going to throw a fight. They weren’t going to lay down. We

understood that, and we knew it was coming. We held our own and

pushed back at them.”

The Raptors extended that lead to 88-74 with a 10-3 run opening

the fourth quarter. Memphis’ 16th turnover led to a dunk by

Terrence Ross, and Grizzlies Joerger called timeout. It didn’t do

much good because the Raptors would hit two more baskets before

Mike Miller’s 3-pointer stopped the run.

When Gay’s 19-footer ran the score to 96-77 Raptors, the Memphis

crowd began to boo.

NOTES: Gay is still the career leader in games played and ranks

second in points and field goals made for the Grizzlies. … A lot

was made of Gay’s return, but Austin Daye, who played with Memphis

last season after the Gay trade, and Lowry, who started his career

in Memphis, are part of Grizzlies history. … Memphis G Jerryd

Bayless returned to action after missing two games with a right

knee sprain. Memphis F/G Quincy Pondexter missed the game

recovering from a broken nose. … The loss was the second

consecutive for the Grizzlies. Memphis had alternated wins and

losses through the first seven games of the season.