Grizzlies down Raptors for first victory of season
The Memphis Grizzlies believe they are much better than they showed in a 22-point loss in their opener.
Strong defensive intensity, better offensive rebounding and a 39-point fourth quarter Friday night helped Memphis prove it with its first victory of the season, 115-107 over the Toronto Raptors.
Zach Randolph scored 30 points to lead six Grizzlies in double figures. Marc Gasol added 19 points for Memphis, which lost 96-74 to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. O.J. Mayo had 18 points, and Rudy Gay finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Mike Conley had 10 points and 10 assists for Memphis.
“We definitely were all tuned-in after that home opener,” Mayo said. “We didn’t play nearly as well as we can on opening night. We had a good practice (Thursday), then came in here and everyone was really focused, had a must-win attitude, and we showed it.”
Chris Bosh led the Raptors with 37 points and 12 rebounds. Jose Calderon scored 15 points and Hedo Turkoglu finished with 14. Andrea Bargnani had 12 points, all in the third quarter.
Memphis guard Allen Iverson missed his second game, still recovering from a partial right hamstring tear.
The Raptors were coming off a 101-91 home victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. That, coupled with Memphis’ loss to Detroit, presented the potential of a tough night for the Grizzlies. But the Raptors’ performance didn’t match their opening-night one.
“Against the Cavaliers, we played great defense,” Bargnani said. “We were able to get some stops and run our fast break. (Against Memphis) we were not able to do that.”
Bosh added: “I don’t think we underestimated this team, but we didn’t do the things we talked about in pregame.”
Memphis, which erased an eight-point Toronto lead early in the fourth, held a 100-98 edge with just under 3 minutes left before Mayo connected on a 3-pointer. Gasol followed with an offensive rebound at the 2-minute mark and drew Bargnani’s sixth foul.
Gasol’s two free throws were followed by Mayo’s steal near midcourt, leading to a breakaway dunk. That gave Memphis a 107-98 lead with 1:43 left. The Raptors got within 107-103, but Mayo’s 20-footer from the top of the key with 47 seconds remaining put the game out of reach.
“O.J. doesn’t hit many shots throughout the game, but he hits a couple of big ones late,” Toronto coach Jay Triano said. “The whole game they just wore us out inside, and they had more energy.
“It was a very hungry basketball team.”
Memphis outrebounded the Raptors 45-36, including 18 off the offensive glass that led to 26 second-chance points.
Six unanswered points late in the half helped Memphis take a 53-49 lead at the break. Randolph already had 14 points.
“It’s a good thing to watch,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “We came out and scrapped from the start. We were battling. We jumped on them.”
Memphis was shooting better early and showing more intensity on the defensive end than the season opener. But Bosh was 9 of 17 in the half for 25 points and added seven rebounds, putting Grizzlies in foul trouble and keeping the Raptors close.
Bargnani, who missed all five of his shots in the first half, scored all of his 12 points in the early stages of the third quarter. That helped the Raptors carry a 79-76 lead into the final period.
Memphis would outscore the Raptors 39-28 in the fourth to rally for the win.
The Grizzlies shot 51 percent for the game compared to 44 for Toronto. It was part of a sharp contrast from the opening-night blowout.
“We were very disappointed in ourselves, and the way we opened up the season,” Conley said. “We wanted to come out and prove a point. That this is how we’re going to play this year.”
Notes: Former Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni, who was fired midway through last season, is now a member of the Raptors’ coaching staff. Memphis holds a 15-13 lead in the series with the Raptors. The Raptors are one of only four NBA teams over whom the Grizzlies hold an edge in the all-time series. The others are the Charlotte Bobcats, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Washington Wizards. … After playing its first two games at home, Memphis hits the road for a five-game West Coast swing. Besides’ Iverson’s injury, second-year F Darrell Arthur is going to miss several months after surgery to repair his right pectoralis. The Grizzlies still are dealing with other nagging ailments to Conley, Mayo, Gay and F/G Sam Young. “We’ve got a lot of nicks and bruises,” coach Lionel Hollins said. “But you’ve still got to play. It’s the NBA, and if you’re not injured and it’s just pain, you’ve go to go out and play to the best of your ability.”