The man originally scheduled for pre-game duty is sick and unable to handle it, and since the rest of us have a real jobs and can’t fill in on a moment’s notice, we have to rely on a bunch of deadbeats to help us set the stage for tonight’s game.

Enter you, the readers of Raptors Republic.

You’ll be setting our expectations for the game. Simply leave a comment with your final score prediction, the game’s high scorer as well as a “Key Storyline,” and later in the afternoon (time permitting) I’ll curate some of the best or most frequent answers into a brief preview.

For reference, the game is at 7 p.m. on TSN and sees the 38-26 Memphis Grizzlies visit the 36-27 Toronto Raptors. Yes, that means the Raptors record is almost good enough to qualify for the playoffs out West. Started…As further reference, the Hollinger rankings would predict a 5-point Raptors win and Vegas has it at Raptors-1 with a 186.5 over/under.

Have at it folks, and thanks for helping us out.

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  • Rupert

    Score: Raptors 93 Grizzlies 89
    High scorer: Demar Derozan 24 points
    Key storyline: Jonas Valanciunas has a double double against the big Grizzlies and the raptors show they can play with the west

  • Roarque

    Score: Raps 107 Grizz 103 in OT
    High scorer: Kyle Lowry 27 points
    Key Storyline: Ed Davis haunts for team with stellar defensive effort; 15 rebs and 4 blocks in losing effort.

    • bobjoe

      Ed Davis stinks and barely plays for them

      • Why

        This is what Davis’ 4th year? Would have thought he would be an established rotation player by now however he still has that deer in headlights look when he plays while 2pat, who is the same age, looks like a grizzled vet.

        • bobjoe

          He’s lost on defense and needs to work on his hook shot

          • Roarque

            Do you think the Raps should try to sign him this summer? I remember he played well with Amir when Bargs and Val were both injured in the 2012/13 season. If the Grizz don’t want him. should the Raps try to retrieve and revive?

  • redrap

    Haven’t seen too much Grizz-action this year; looked at the Preview on Ya. We beat them mid-November in Memphis (103 – 87) but they’re probably a lot better these days. But so are we. They’ve won 11 or 14 of late and they’re fighting hard for a playoff spot. We’re trying to lock that third seed down in the east — a ways to go but it’s there to be battled for and won .. which would be huge — with the Bulls and Nets chasing like crazed zombies. We’re about due for a well-played game against a good team on a Friday night at home. One I’m hoping I enjoy thinking about after the dust settles this summer. It’s usually hard-fought against these guys; tonight’ll be the same. A hair over on the over/under. Raps by four.

  • KuH

    Score: Grizz 97 Raptors 93
    High scorer: Mike Conley 21 points
    Storyline: the Raptors bench gets dominated by the Grizzly bench 27-9, with ex-Raptors Ed Davis and James Johnson leading the charge


      I agree with this analysis more so than any other I have read.

    • bobjoe

      Ed Davis barely cracks their big rotation

    • KuH

      Looks like I got it really wrong.

      I also misread the Grizzlies coach, who didn’t even play Eddie or JJ … which aroused a bunch of comments from second-guessing Grizz fans on their boards.

  • JDubs

    Grizz Bigs pound the glass in the first half and Casey is forced to use Hayes and Hansbrough for extended minutes. The Lowry Conley matchup will be very competitive. Rap wings will have big games with Ross hitting 3’s and Derozan penetrating. Close down the stretch, with Raps making a comeback and finally winning on the back of Lowry heroics. Key to the game is Tyler going nuts and mixing it up inside.

  • The Red Fury

    Score: Raps by 3
    Key Stats: Raps shut down Grizz in 3rd quarter and hold them to 13 points. Raps have trouble containing Grizzlies bigs. Conley still has a chip on his shoulder from Gay saying Demar is the best guard he’s played with. Conley gets shutdown and goes 2 for 15, Demar 8/20 with 8 trips to the line. Lowry goes down hard with a charge to clinch the W with under a minute remaining.

    Novak unveils the Rodgers belt for the first time as a raptor!!!!

    • bobjoe

      It’s Tony Allen, not Conley, that has the chip on his shoulder after Gay said DD was best 2guard he played with.

      • Why

        I would rather have DD though Tony Allen is a very good defensive player however he is also a shooting guard who can’t shoot.
        he was better suited to the role he had with the Celtics as a specialty player.

        • bobjoe

          Of course. On this Raptors team, DD is the offense. If there was another offensively gifted starter to shoulder the load, Tony Allen would be a great addition to the team.

          His shooting hasn’t been that bad this year either.

      • The Red Fury

        Thanks for correcting me in a positive way and adding to the conversation. I appreciate it!

  • Hassan Mehmood Khan

    I Predict raptors by 5, Lowry scores 20pts 8 assists 5 steals 5 boards . Derozan with 25 points 4 assists 2 steals 5 board. Key story of the game is how JV handles the bruising forward line of grizzlies

  • coachftw

    Raps 94 Grizz 89
    High Scorer: Gasol 26 points
    Key Storyline: Raps fall behind in the second due to Mike Miller off the bench but come back slowly in the third to make for an interesting fourth quarter. Best Raptor will be Amir but Lowry will make clutch plays down the stretch. JV gets schooled by Gasol forcing Casey to go with bench options.

    James Johnson and Ross both throw down nasty dunks

  • robertparish00

    Don’t know the score but I bet Amir rolls his ankle.

  • Score: Grizzlies 92 Raptors 87
    High Scorer: Marc Gasol 22 points
    Key storyline: The Raptors put up a fight but are unable to slow down Gasol and Randolph inside.

  • Steverino

    Really? Predictions? Who cares what people guess will happen.

  • Haim not Feldman

    Storyline: Memphis wants this one more to keep their playoff spot in the competitive Bestern Conference. Also, the Raps’ weaknesses up front will be exposed. They may have the lead at times but the Grizz grind it out 106-100.
    Raps MVP: TRoss. TRoss will go off early in the first half and disappear in the second.
    Raps Stiffs of the Day: Amir and JV. Amir has the youth advantage but ZBo’s got skillz. JV needs to play center not the harlot against Marc “The Better” Gasol, but Gasol gives him an extra serving of Spanish ham.

  • Mark A

    Score: Raptors 96 – Grizzlies 94
    High Scorer: Uros Slokar 25 points
    Storyline: Rafael Araujo puts back a Joey Graham-jumper at the buzzer over reigning DPOY Hasheem Thabeet to give the Raptors the victory

    • tonious35

      Reading this made me smile….Is this Bust-arro world we are looking into?

    • rapierraptor

      Mark A – a beautiful mind and a beautiful body.

  • Marz

    The grizzlies arrive in high fashion, riding a four game win streak into snow white Toronto. They remember very well the 16 point pounding the Raptors gave them on November 13th and they are seeking revenge. Their plan is to abuse the Raptors’ front court, which becomes easily flustered at the first sign of physical play. A tight whistle in favour of the Grizz down the stretch will result in a Raptors home loss by 4 points, despite DeMar’s 32 points or TRoss’ 4 triples.

  • Abused Raptors Fan

    In a clash of playoff teams looking to secure their postseason positioning, game between the Raptors and Grizzlies promises to be an entertaining battle of defensive force and will power. Well, on paper at least. The fact is, their respective paths to the postseason have been as different as they have been similar.
    While both teams have enjoyed a resurgence following disappointmenting starts to the season, the Grizzlies have regularly challenged by quality competition out West. And, like our previous confontations with experienced playoff teams rounding into postseason form, I predict another close, hard fought game where the Raptors stay in it only to lose in the final minutes of the game.

    Final score: Grizzlies 95 – Raptors 91
    Key Performers: Kyle Lowry (23, 7, 11), Zach Randolph (26, 13).

    While Lowry shines against his former team and nearly posts another triple-double, the front court of the Grizzlies will simply prove to be too much for an already depleted, undersized Raptors front line.

    • ItsAboutFun

      “While both teams have enjoyed a resurgence following disappointmenting
      starts to the season, the Grizzlies have regularly challenged by quality
      competition out West.”

      Nor really. They’ve had some wins against quality, so have we, but the vast majority of their success in the new year has been against the East (minus the top 3 seeds), and lottery West teams.

      Promises to be a tough game though. Should be a fun battle. Go Raps!!

  • gizzly73

    Grizz 101 Raps 96 High scorer: Marc Gasol 21 Raps are in tough without PPatterson, one of their more versatile and valuable players. He is a difference maker as shown many times. Raps weakness is front line depth. With P Pat – Raps win. If they need minutes out of Chuck Hayes – trouble.

  • ckh26

    Watch for a fluid 4 man big rotation of JV / Chuck / Amir / Tyler to take on Gasol and Randolph. We got a glimpse of Chuck playing alongside JV against the PIstons frontline and that wasn’t a co-incidence. With JV and Amir on Gasol at the 5 watch for Dwane and his 12 fouls to give with Chuck and Tyler to ground and pound Randolph to the point he blows a gasket and either takes himself out of the game by doing something stupid or we wear him down. Dwane is going to make life tough on the strongest part of the Grizz their frontcourt.

    Lowry with a long memory will crank it up against Conoly who took his job in Memphis and have a good nite. Ross and Demar and Salmons and a splash of Novak will score enough off the wing for the Raps to win in a squeaker 98 -94.

  • tonious35

    Lunchpails vs. Nails n’ Sandpaper….Raptors 86-84. Ugly as expected. Raptors adapt to the slow pace from the ‘Grizz and Tony Allen is swarming DeRozan. Raptors surprise everyone with their paint defense.

  • tonious35

    Would of been awesome to see Vancouver still in the NBA with this roster… Then there would be two possibilities of sports playoff city riots. Too bad Stu Jackson was a dumbass bitch and draft-bust the team out of the city, and also he was responsible of suspending Amare (Suns) during 2007 Playoffs. Who’d a thunk it that the Pau Gasol Trade changed the quality and fate of this team (Salary and MARC GASOL)….

  • asifyouknow

    If Marc and Zach are on today they will own the paint. Hope Toronto is hitting the threes… they are going to need them today…

  • Dr. Scooby

    Grizzlies 98 – Raptors 91 (unless Ross goes off offensively then Raptors 104 – Grizzlies 89)

    Top scorer: DD/Randolph 20 pts.

    Chuck ‘wagon’ Hayes fouls out and forces Zack R. into making 7 of 18 shots

    Alternate ending: T-Ross 26 pts “Grizz had no answer for Terrence Ross who shredded them with 7 3pointers …”

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