Memphis Grizzlies vs. Toronto Raptors game preview

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Toronto Raptors game preview

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WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (32-20, 21-4 home) vs. Toronto Raptors (24-30, 9-18 away)

WHEN: 5:00 p.m. CST

WHERE: FedEx Forum

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis


MEMPHIS: Jaren Jackson Jr. (doubtful, hamstring), Ja Morant (doubtful, wrist), Steven Adams (off, knee), Dillon Brooks (off, league suspension), Kennedy Chandler (off, G deployment -League), Jake LaRavia (Australia, G-League affiliation), Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Australia, round trip), Vince Williams Jr. (Australia, round trip)

TORONTO: OG Anunoby (outside, wrist), Otto Porter Jr. (outside, foot)


MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Ziaire Williams, Jaren Jackson Jr., Xavier Tillman

TORONTO: Fred Vanvleet, Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, Precious Achiuwa, Pascal Siakam

The past two weeks haven’t been particularly good for the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have lost seven of their last eight games and haven’t won an away game since Jan. 14. Fortunately, Memphis returns to the Grindhouse tonight.

The Grizzlies last played the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 29. Memphis won 119-106 behind 25 points from Dillon Brooks. Unfortunately, the Grizz are without a DB tonight after he was suspended for Thursday’s altercation with Donovan Mitchell. Memphis also relied heavily on Steven Adams in the last game between the two teams. Adams scored 14 points and had 17 rebounds. Brandon Clarke and Xavier Tillman are to replace Big Kiwi’s rebounding production against the Raptors, who have only one player over 6-foot-9.

The Raptors are at a crossroads. Toronto is currently the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference, a game and a half from the qualifying tournament. With the trade deadline fast approaching, the Raptors have been the subject of trade rumors. Gary Trent Jr., Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby have reportedly been available, and the Grizzlies have been linked to Anunoby. So as you watch today’s game, keep an eye out for players who may be coming soon. Anunoby may be absent, but Trent has also been touted as a business destination for Memphis. Maybe tonight could serve as an audition.

During the team’s recent mistake, the need for a deal grew more pressing among Grizzlies fans. While every fan thinks of a move, Memphis has a different goal in mind and that’s on the field. How can the Grizzlies get back on track?

Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

Jaren “First-Time All-Star” Jackson Jr.

When Jaren Jackson Jr. was selected as a reserve All-Star on Thursday night, even Grizzlies fans were surprised. JJJ received no love votes from players, fans, or the media, but coaches recognized Jackson as one of the league’s top stars. As the top contender for Defensive Player of the Year and one of the best players on one of the top teams, it’s not unreasonable that he was chosen. For the first time in franchise history, the Memphis Grizzlies have two players in the All-Star Game.

Jackson is considered doubtful after suffering a hamstring injury against the Trailblazers last week. Granted, the Grizzlies realize they can’t lose another game, especially against a sub-0.500 opponent. While Ja Morant may be Memphis’ top scorer and most dynamic offensive player night to night, Jackson is the Grizzlies’ most valuable player. His influence on defense is a game-changer and he was sorely missed in Thursday’s loss to the Cavaliers. When Jackson plays, the Grizzlies can control the flush, limiting the effectiveness of Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes.

Trip’s offense has also been spectacular lately. In Jackson’s last two games, he averaged 23 points and 7.5 rebounds. Against Indiana, Jackson shot 12/19 from the field and 3/8 from outside the arc. Two nights later, JJJ shot 9/14 off the field. If Jackson can continue to produce on offense, Memphis should pick up the win at home.

Peter Thomas – USA TODAY Sports

three point shot

Aside from Desmond Bane, the Grizzlies haven’t had a true three-point upset all season. Welcome Dany Green! The veteran went 1-4 from the Deep in his season debut on Wednesday, but there’s still hope he could be the spark the Grizzlies desperately need on the bench. Three career points at 39.9%, Green brings a veteran presence to the field that the youngsters could definitely use.

Behind Bane and Green, the three-point shot is spared. Tyus Jones is shooting 38.2% from deep, but in his last ten games Jones is shooting just 32.6% from the arc. The shooting of Santi Aldama varies from night to night. Sometimes he can turn off the lights, sometimes he can’t let go. For Memphis to get back on track and make the playoffs, the Grizzlies’ three-point shooting needs to be better. If the roster being built can’t improve from top to bottom, the Grizzlies should focus on the trade market.


Both Jackson and Morant are listed as questionable and any predictions for tonight’s game are entirely dependent on their health. When Memphis is behind JJJ and Morant, above Brooks and Adams, it’s hard to see them getting the win. It’s rare for a team to win without 80% of their starting XI. However, I’m confident the Grizzlies realize the importance of getting a win tonight, and I expect the Memphis All-Star duo to play.

Memphis 116, Toronto 109

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