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Raptors lose ugly game to shorthanded Grizzlies

Toronto falls short against the shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies.

Last night was one of the ugliest games that Toronto has played this season and the end score does not represent how the majority of the game went. The visiting Memphis Grizzlies won the game with a final score of 108-100 but they dominated Toronto from the opening tip it felt like. Toronto played a really sloppy game and lost to a Grizzlies team that had a decimated rotation. There were a couple of bright spots last night, namely the games that RJ Barrett and Scottie Barnes had, but mostly, this will be a game that Toronto will want to forget.

Jaren Jackson Jr. quite simply dominated Toronto last night on both ends of the floor with a statline of 24 points 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Jackson Jr. took full advantage of the gaping hole Toronto has at center and he was attacking the paint all night long. Jackson was taking any and every body off the dribble to the rim and really converting some fantastic finishes. Jackson Jr was also dominating on the defensive end. Jackson Jr had 6 steals and these all came in the first quarter, he was a big reason why Toronto played such a sloppy game. His presence around the rim and just on the court in general led to a lot of tipped passes, and a lot of altered shots. Vince Williams Jr. also had a spectacular night and like Jackson Jr. he lived in the paint. Williams Jr. finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. He was on the offensive glass, he was filling the lane in transition, and he was just always in motion towards the basket it felt like. Luke Kennard had a pretty solid game as well with 19 points and 7 assists. Kennard was a flamethrower from outside and it felt like every time you turned your head he was dropping in another three.

Two main things killed Toronto last night and that was turnovers and offensive rebounding by the Grizzlies. Toronto finished with 17 turnovers and allowed Memphis to grab 19 offensive rebounds. Memphis had 15 turnovers of their own but the difference is, Memphis was actually playing well defensively, unlike Toronto. Toronto just seemed really out of sorts last night, guys weren’t getting back in transition, taking a bunch of poor shots, lethargically getting into sets. For most of the game it was just Toronto trying to fight their way back in and eventually when they started to show signs of life, it was too late.

Now let’s get to some of the positives from last night. Scottie Barnes finished with a near triple double with 22 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, and a staggering 6 blocks. This wasn’t the prettiest game from Scottie as he had a bunch of unseemly turnovers but the part that stands out the most was towards the end of the game. Toronto was down big but Scottie still continued to push the issue and get into the paint to set up easy shots for his teammates. He had a couple laydown passes to Thad Young, he was being a post hub, and he was working in the post for his own looks. RJ Barrett finished with 29 points and 9 rebounds and he continued his excellent career as a Toronto Raptor. Barrett was steadfast in his pursuit of the rim and for him to do this was Jackson Jr. patrolling the paint for a large portion of the game was even better. Barrett was electric in transition, showed some great body control on the halfcourt finishes, and he got to 29 points with all two point field goals and free throws. No other Raptors had a standout game and this is likely why Toronto lost in this fashion. In this new era the team is clearly worse so to not take advantage of the banged up Memphis Grizzlies is tragic. After three days of rest Toronto will face off against the Los Angeles Clippers next and if they want to have a chance at winning then they have to play a much more clean game than they played last night.