National Basketball Association
Grizzlies-Raptors Preview
National Basketball Association

Grizzlies-Raptors Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 3:22 p.m. ET

The Toronto Raptors had another uncharacteristically poor defensive effort in their first game after the All-Star break, but a return home could get them back into the groove.

The Raptors seek an eight straight win at the Air Canada Centre, where they haven't played in three weeks, as they face the new-look Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.

Toronto (35-18) fell flat in its return to action after hosting the All-Star game with Friday's 116-106 loss to a Chicago team which had lost five straight. The Raptors gave up 37 points in the third quarter - matching their second-most allowed in any period this season - and let the Bulls shoot 51.6 percent.

"We had no semblance of defensive presence," coach Dwane Casey said. "... If we think we're going to go anywhere playing like that, we're kidding ourselves."


Toronto caused only nine turnovers after forcing just seven in its final game before the break, a 117-112 loss to Minnesota on Feb. 10. The Raptors, among the league leaders with 97.7 points allowed per game, are looking to avoid giving up more than 110 points in three consecutive games for the first time since March 2011.

They had won 14 of 15 before losing the last two games to cap a 3-3 stretch on the road.

The Raptors will play at Air Canada for the first time since beating Detroit on Jan. 30 and will have 10 of their next 12 games there. Toronto is riding its longest home win streak since an eight-game run in 2009-10.

The Atlantic Division leaders face a Grizzlies team seeking a season-high fourth consecutive road win, but the previous three opponents were all out of playoff position. Memphis (32-22) has lost its last two visits to Toronto but won the most recent meeting 92-86 on Jan. 21 last season, though half of the top six in the Grizzlies' rotation from that day are no longer with the team.

Marc Gasol, who averaged 24.0 points in last season's two meetings, has a fractured right foot that might keep him out the rest of the season. Courtney Lee was shipped to Charlotte in a three-team deal Tuesday that brought Chris Andersen and P.J. Hairston to the Grizzlies, and Jeff Green was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers shortly before Thursday's trade deadline for Lance Stephenson and a protected first-round pick.

Even with all the changes, and playing their second game since losing Gasol, the Grizzlies returned from the break to beat Minnesota 109-104 on Friday.

"I thought every guy who played tonight tried to bring energy to the game, brought a good spirit to the game," coach Dave Joerger said. "If we play that hard, we'll get some results we like."

While Andersen and Hairston combined for just six points in 18 minutes off the bench, Mike Conley stepped up with 25 points. He's averaging 24.0 and shooting 55.1 percent in the past three contests.

Stephenson could be available for the first time Sunday, though it's unclear if starting guard Tony Allen will play after leaving Friday's game with a sore left knee.

"It's next man up. Whoever can play will have to play. We've got to find a way to get it done," said forward Brandan Wright, who returned from a knee injury that had kept him out since Nov. 7.

Zach Randolph averaged 18.5 points and 15.5 rebounds last season against Toronto and enters Sunday amid one of his best stretches of the season, scoring 19.5 per game over the last four.


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