Gameday: Raptors @ Grizzlies, November 24

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Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors (8-10) and Grizzlies (9-8) clash in Game five of the six game road trip. This should be a pretty good measuring stick for Toronto as opposed to the Utah and Golden State games, where the Raps were clearly the inferior opponent.

Speaking of the Jazz, that’s who the Grizzlies just got their most recent win against on Monday thanks to 26 points from Jaren Jackson Jr.

That might be a huge confidence boost for the former number four overall pick, who dare I say has been a little disappointing in his fourth season so far? Jackson is averaging 14.6 points this season off only 38.8 percent from the field, which is frightening for a big. Your NBA three point percentage leader Jonas Valanciunas was moved in the offseason for Steven Adams (I still hate this trade), which theoretically should have opened up the hierarchy. The Grizzlies’ defensive rating has freefallen from sixth last season to LAST (?!?!?). That’s another hard one to understand.  Memphis is a top-10 offensive team though, and are packed with a few other West teams in that .500 range

Ja Morant

If you’re making a short list of most exciting players to watch in the league today, it’s hard not to include Ja. All signs are pointing to Morant making his first all-star team this season if he stays healthy (just work on those landings okay?). He’s doing more now in his third season, averaging 25.5 points (9th in the  NBA), and seven assists which falls just short of the top 10. His shooting has improved and he is a mesmerizing finisher who isn’t afraid to try and use his NBA 2K posterizer badge on an unsuspecting big. Memphis only ranks 18th in three point percentage (33.9%) so I would assume Nick Nurse will want to trap Morant quite a bit to get the ball out of  his hands. Desmond Bane would be the guy you don’t want to leave open. He’s averaging over 15 points and leads the team in made threes. What a gem of a pickup as the 30th pick of the draft last season.

Dillon Brooks

The Mississauga, Ontario native has only played in four games this season and is questionable with a hamstring injury. This answer from a few days ago cracked me up, just wanted a reason to put this here.

Breakout Raptor?

I feel Scottie Barnes is due to get some buckets. He’s slightly grazed the rookie wall a bit, failing to score more than 10 points in each of  his last three games, and hasn’t shot over 50 percent in his last six. Against the worst ranked defense? (a Memphis team, I still can’t believe that). Sign me up.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 8:00pm EST | TV: TSN 4 | Radio: TSN 1050

Raptors Lineup

OG Anunoby (hip pointer), Precious Achiuwa (shoulder tendinitis) and Yuta Watanabe (calf strain) are listed as questionable

PG: Fred VanVleet, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn, Goran Dragic

SG: Gary Trent Jr, Svi Mykhailiuk

SF: Scottie Barnes, Justin Champagnie

PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher

C: Khem Birch

Grizzlies Lineup

Dillon Brooks as I mentioned above is questionable. Sam Merill (ankle) and De’Anthony Melton (groin) are expected to be out for at least a few more games

PG: Ja Morant, Tyus Jones, Jarrett Culver

SG: Desmond Bane, John Konchar

SF: Kyle Anderson, Ziaire Williams

PF: Jaren Jackson Jr, Brandon Clarke

C: Steven Adams, Xavier Tillman, Killian Tillie

The Line

Memphis is favoured by 3.5 points. The over/under is 221.5. The Grizzlies rank sixth in points per game at 110.1, but the under is speaking to me so I’m going with that. 5-2 this season.

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