In an unsightly match which induced boos and derision from a capacity audience at the Air Canada Centre, the Toronto Raptors’ 5-game winning streak screeched to a halt.
The Raps couldn’t shoot to save their lives, but the home team still had a chance to steal a victory. Late in the game, behind an astonishing flurry of 3-balls from reserve swingman Alan Anderson, the Raps pulled into a 77-all tie. However, the Grizzlies decided to double-cover Anderson, and dared the rest of the Raps to score. They weren’t up to the task, particularly Rudy Gay. The only bright spot in the game’s last 4 minutes was a Kyle Lowry 4-point play (Anderson had one with 6 minutes to play, oddly enough). The offense seized up, and the Grizzlies chipped in enough points to pull away.
I would not be doing justice to you, the reader, if I didn’t make abundantly clear what a dreadful game this was for the Raps. The team made 26 field goals on 71 shots, but if you take away Anderson’s 6-for-7, you’re left with 20-of-64, or barely 31 percent. Rudy had as many turnovers (5) as baskets. DeMar DeRozan was 1-for-9. Andrea Bargnani was 0-for-4. That’s enough pain.
The Grizzlies dominated the boards, particularly when Zach Randolph was on the floor. Seven of his 18 rebounds were on the offensive glass. Not surprisingly, the Grizzlies got to the free throw line more than our team by a 34-26 margin.
It was fitting that the Raps couldn’t score at game’s end, because that’s how they started. The game was 3 minutes old before the first points were recorded on an Amir Johnson slam. Both teams were missing easy shots, and turning the ball over at a furious rate. The boos started early.
Rudy’s two 3-balls were both off glass, which caused some cheering, but he didn’t offer much else. His first chance to hurt his former team was a disaster. Rudy kept driving into the Memphis bigs, losing the ball or throwing up off-balance prayers, then voicing his displeasur to the refs. But what was worse than his whining was the fact that everyone in the building, including the opponents, knew that Rudy was going to play 1 on 5. I’ve got an idea – PASS THE BALL.
Ed Davis drew applause when he entered the game, but he had little opportunity to influence the outcome in 14+ minutes of play. Hey Memphis – if you don’t want him, give him back.
At half-time a thoroughly frustrated DeMar threw the game ball into the giant screen mechanism above the floor, where it stayed. That’s the kind of night it was for the Raps – the ball had a mind of its own.
There’s little time for licking wounds. The New York Knicks are in town Friday night for a game which is already a sellout.
Brian Boake is a co-editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.