Toronto Raptors: Three takeaways from blowout win vs Memphis

Toronto Raptors - Danny Green (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Danny Green (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

A strong defensive performance and a three-point barrage gave the Toronto Raptors the win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. What did we learn from the game?

The Toronto Raptors hosted the Memphis Grizzlies at the Scotiabank Arena on a cold Saturday night without star man Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors were looking to continue on from the late victory against the Phoenix Suns with a win against another struggling team in the Western Conference.

The Grizzlies were 12-8 when the two teams met back in late November but had slipped to 19-26 on the season, and their hopes of making the playoffs were cratering at an alarming rate. Memphis was without their veteran big man, Marc Gasol, but still had the interior presence of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Mike Conley leading the team.

The game started at anything but a frantic pace, certainly what you’d expect from the Grizzlies, who play at the slowest pace in the league. The Raptors were 0-4 from three in the first quarter, their woes from the great beyond looked set to continue. More than present in the paint though, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam combined for 16 of Toronto’s 23 points, leading 23-19 at the end of the first quarter.

The defense was effective in forcing turnovers in the first half. Memphis gave up the ball multiple times, including three turnovers from Justin Holiday, who was starting in just his third game for the Grizzlies. The Raptors started to get rolling in transition and scored 32 points in the quarter, including 13 from born-again shooter C.J. Miles.

The third quarter was all about Danny Green. Green knocked down three after three and butchered the Grizzlies from beyond the arc all quarter, the Raptors broke a franchise record and hit 10 threes in the quarter too. Toronto turned on the afterburners and Memphis forgot to cover Green for the majority of the quarter, scoring 45 points in the third, the Raptors starters waved goodbye to the Grizzlies and out came the bench unit.

The fourth quarter passed without much too much fuss, it was nice to see Raptors 905 regulars Chris Boucher, Jordan Loyd, and Malachi Richardson get some decent minutes, especially after playing earlier in the day for the G-League affiliate. The Grizzlies outscored the Raptors by nine points in the fourth but it was too little too late, for Memphis. Blowout, goodnight.

Here are my three takeaways from Saturday night’s game against the Grizzlies.

1. Don’t trade for a shooter, you have C.J. Miles

It’s been two games now, and it doesn’t look as if C.J. Miles finding his shot is a fluke. Miles accumulated 13 points in the first half to give himself back-to-back double-digit games for the first time this season, he also had a career-high five(!) steals in the first half. C.J. was attacking off the bounce and driving to the rim, shooting 3-4 from the foul line. Renewed aggression is a strong force, clearly.

The Raptors have been desperate for some more shooting off of the bench in recent weeks, which seemed to correlate with the slump Miles was in the midst of. If Miles is well and truly out of the woods then the need for a pure volume shooter doesn’t become much of a necessity. Miles played limited minutes in the second half and ended the game with his 13 points from the first half, things are looking promising though.

2. You also have Danny Green, FYI

Danny Green isn’t the high-volume shooter that C.J. Miles is, but that doesn’t make his offensive contributions any less valuable. Green was the ultimate marksman against the Grizzlies and proved how significant his impact on the game can be when he’s shooting a high number of threes.

More from Raptors Rapture

Green had seven made threes in the third quarter on 7-9 shooting and finished with a season-high 24 points. Green is shooting 40-percent from three on just over five attempts a game, a common number for an NBA shooting guard in 2019. There might not be many scenarios where teams willingly leave him wide open for 10 minute periods at a time, but it’s nice to know that Danny can make them pay if they decide to do it.

3. Patrick McMeh

In his second game for the Toronto Raptors since signing as a free agent, we saw Patrick McCaw make his first real contribution to the Raptors. He assisted C.J. Miles on a three-pointer in the second, a good decision considering C.J. was on a hot streak at that point. McCaw would add another assist and a bucket, along with two rebounds to have an okay, if uninspiring stat line in his 17 minutes on the court. He did account for three sloppy turnovers though, so there’s that.

McCaw will defend hard and give you the occasional bucket, but not really much more as it stands. That’s fine on occasion but as the Raptors nurse their way back to full health and other bench players start to find their groove, minutes will be hard to come by for McCaw.

Next. 30 greatest Raptors of all-time. dark

Be sure to check out our takeaways after each game at