Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors came into Tuesday night’s matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies looking for some positive momentum, as this team has lost nine of their last 12 contests. Playing without OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. made the task of picking up the victory even more difficult.
This game could not have started in a more painful fashion for Toronto. The Raptors only mustered 39 points by the time halftime rolled around, and they looked totally outclassed despite Memphis missing Ja Morant. A strong third quarter helped put Toronto back in a position to steal a victory.
After being shut down for most of the night, Memphis finally woke up from the perimeter. Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. combined for 48 points as the Grizzlies pulled out a 98-91 victory. Toronto now falls to 2-8 at Scotiabank Arena on the season, giving them one of the worst home records in the league.
There isn’t a ton to feel good about after losing to a shorthanded team like the Grizzlies. Some rotation members fighting for minutes authored some rancid showings. Only a couple of Raptors players should be able to walk away from this game pleased with their effort.
Scottie Barnes was the best player on the floor for the Toronto Raptors.
Fred VanVleet provided his usual brand of solid two-way basketball, and Pascal Siakam was the leading scorer on the offensive end once again, but Barnes was able to help Toronto limit Memphis’ ability to score in the paint while showing signs of growth on the offensive end.
Barnes recorded 19 points on 8-16 shooting. He continued to chuck it up from 3-point range, making three of his six attempts from deep. With seven rebounds and three assists, Barnes continued to show that he is an integral part of Toronto’s on-court success this season.
Barnes’ defensive skills showed up tonight as well. In addition to two steals, Barnes blocked four shots, showing that his long wingspan will enable him to be an on-ball threat in the paint and on the perimeter. If the goal of this season is development, Barnes is progressing nicely.
Barnes is already starting to evolve, as his newfound confidence from the 3-point line should help the Raptors pick up some extra wins here and there when everyone is healthy. The losses are piling up, but so are the masterclass performances from Barnes.
Precious Achiuwa has another rough game for the Toronto Raptors.
Achiuwa has been maddingly inconsistent this season, and he has continued to take the Raptors on a roller-coaster of emotions over the last few games. After dominating against Memphis back at his college stomping grounds, Achiuwa looked completely out of sorts in this game.
Achiuwa was just 1-8 from the field, recording five points and five rebounds while doing little to contain the likes of Jackson, Steven Adams, and Brandon Clarke in the paint. His issues with finishing in the paint persisted, and it came back to bite a Raptors team playing without Khem Birch.
Chris Boucher is fresh off getting demoted due to how poorly he has played in recent weeks, but Achiuwa hasn’t necessarily been anything to write home about whenever he has been forced into the starting lineup. Not only is Achiuwa not developing some aspects of his game, but he appears to be regressing in others.
The Raptors will keep giving Achiuwa a steady diet of minutes, but he is continuing to get time in this rotation due to a lack of depth rather than consistent impressive performances. Malachi Flynn needs to thank Achiuwa for performing so poorly and fouling out, as both of them put together subpar performances.