The rested Raptors got out to a strong start against the Grizzlies, but the absence of several key regulars caught up to them in the second quarter, as Memphis began to capitalize on turnovers and took a 48-44 lead into halftime.
After trailing by as many as 16 points in the third, the Raps fought to get it to within 83-77 with 5:46 to play. But they went on to turn it over on three straight possessions -- allowing the Grizzlies to pad their lead to double digits -- and they would get no closer.
Zach Randolph feasted on Toronto's frontcourt in the second half with some timely buckets to finish with 21 points and eight rebounds. Randolph made his first four shots in the opening five minutes of the third quarter to push the Memphis lead to 62-50. In the fourth, it was his seven points in the final five minutes that helped keep the Raptors at bay.
``Zach, coming down the stretch was outstanding,'' Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins said. ``We played off Zach very well and everybody was playing their role and doing what they needed to do.''
Joey Dorsey started on Monday and the former University of Memphis standout responded with 10 points and 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. The free throw shooting (0-5) has to improve, but it's the kind of stand in performance Jay Triano is looking for with a depleted roster.
"Some of these guys will take advantage of that, make their minutes count and get better because of it and some of these guys find themselves playing themselves out of spots when regulars start to become more available," said Triano.
"You can't have guys who have been in the league for a year or two jump up in the air, make passes and try to make plays. This is a very athletic team, as soon as you commit to jumping in the air to make the pass, they're going to respond and they're going to get deflections and they're going to turn it into fast break points. We've just got to be a little more careful with the basketball. We shot the ball well from the two, we can't make a three, we can't make free throws. Otherwise, it might be a little bit different game." - Jay Triano, on the turnovers
Tues., Dec. 28 @ Mavericks
8:30 PM ET, Sportsnet One, FAN590
It's out of the frying pan and into the blast furnace for the Raptors, who close out a back-to-back against the Mavs in Dallas (24-5). Dallas has won five straight and boasts a 13-4 home record, but the status of franchise player Dirk Nowitzki is in question after the forward injured his right knee in the second quarter against OKC on Monday. The Raptors have dropped 10 straight games in Dallas.
|21||Raptors turnovers in the final three quarters|
|.357||Free throw shooting percentage for Toronto (5-14)|
|2||Raptors who have played every game in Dec. (DeRozan, Johnson)|
|20-16||Fast break points favouring the Grizzlies|
|.211||3-pt shooting percentage for the Raptors (4-19)|
|"When I stretch to one side up to go block a shot, I just kind of find a pinch in my hip. I just need to keep on working and eventually, it'll get better."|
- AmirJohnson, on his ailing back
|"This is my seventh year in the league and I'm just coming in every moment I get to try to bring energy and cause havoc the best I can."|
- Grizzlies forward Tony Allen after his six steals
|"The offence is just out of sync when you are missing your main guy and everything went through him before. You're trying to figure out how to play without him, and maybe that's why we had so many turnovers."|
- Linas Kleiza, on missing Andrea Bargnani