Raptors 101, Grizzlies 86: Raptors Bench impresses against Grizzlies


The Toronto Raptors fly by the Memphis Grizzlies just in time for the Superbowl, 101-86. With Memphis missing some key players such as Mike Conley and Tyreke Evans, Raptors took advantage. DeMar DeRozan had stated that the young players needed to step up on Sunday, and they didn’t disappoint.

The Raptors Bench Comes up Strong

TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 4: Delon Wright
TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 4: Delon Wright /

The Raptors started the game off finding great looks, but shots weren’t falling. Marc Gasol’s 9 points in the first kept the Grizzlies on pace with Toronto. Only with a mid-range jumper from DeRozan would Raptors gain a 1 point lead to end the first,25-24. The Raps currently had no hot hand so it was time to see if a player off the bench could provide a spark.

"“I thought these are the scariest games in the fact that you look out there and you don’t see Mike Conley, you don’t see (Chandler) Parsons, whoever it is with Memphis and human nature is to let down,” said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. “I was afraid of that to start the game and it happened, but our young guys they brought the energy, they did what they’re supposed to do.”"

Then Delon Wright quickly made a difference with his playmaking and scoring a quick 6 points. He ended up finishing the game as the leading scorer with 15 PTS, 4 REBS, 2 ASTS, 4 STLS shooting 66%. The Raptors offense started to click as Lowry, Ibaka, and VanVleet contributed as well. The Raptors managed to outscore the Grizzlies by 11 points in the second quarter.

In Q3, the Raptors began to slow down and let Memphis back into the game. The visitors outscored the Raptors by 10 in the third, and at one point regained the lead. Jonas Valanciunas who has lately proved his a valuable asset to the Raptors finished with 12 PTS, 9 REBS, 3 ASTS shooting 62% and hitting a three.

However, there still is room for improvement for Jonas, specifically on the defensive end. Since Gasol once again leads the way in the third, finishing with 20 PTS, 6 REBS, 5 ASTS, 1 STL and 2 BLKS. But to Valanciunas credit, Marc did shoot a poor 6-16 (37%) and added 4 TO’s to help the

“I think we started picking up full court,” Wright said. “Pascal (Siakam) and (Jakob Poeltl); we all did a good job of being up so I think that helped get some energy into the game and we were able to get some stops and allowed us to play freely.”

Raptors take control in the fourth

With 1:07 left in the third, Siakam managed to give the Raps their lead back with a lay-up.

VanVleet and Wright once again contributed to the Raptors outscoring the Grizzlies 25-12 in the fourth. The Raps starters had been struggling, specifically, DeRozan and Lowry who combined for 24 PTS, 4 ASTS, 4 TO’S on 36% FG and 1-8 (12%) threes.

"“Give ’em credit for the game today,” said DeRozan. “They came out with a lot of energy. They did what they were supposed to do and they got us this win today.”"

TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 4: Andrew Harrison
TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 4: Andrew Harrison /

Notably, Grizzlies Canadian native from Mississauga, Andrew Harrison had 16 PTS,4 REBS, 3 ASTS on 50% FG.

“It was a dream come true playing at Air Canada Centre where you are from, where you watched (games) since you were seven years old…” said Brooks. “Seeing the team grow, now playing against them is a dream.”

It will be interesting to see how Raptors will try to find more minutes for Norman Powell in the rotation. Powell scored 2 points and grabbing 2 rebounds in 5 minutes.

The Raptors will improve to 36-16 while Lowry will be celebrating his Philadelphia Eagles Superbowl championship.