The Toronto Raptors (16-7) stormed all the way back from a 17-point second quarter deficit to shock the Memphis Grizzlies (8-17) on their home court, 116-107. The win was Toronto’s fifth straight, which marks the team’s longest win streak of the season, and improved the club to an impressive 9-2 since November 14.
The usual suspects led the Raptors offensive attack, with DeMar DeRozan scoring a team-high 26 points and Kyle Lowry chipping in 16 points and eight dimes.
DeRozan attacked the rim at will and was rewarded with seven trips to the charity stripe, where he converted all 14 of his attempts. Once again DeRozan got others involved in the offence, which has been the most impressive development of his game this season. He realizes defences need to close out on him whenever he drives, which leaves at least one of his teammates open. Instead of forcing challenging shots, he more often than not finds the open man for a much more efficient look.
OG Anunoby had another great outing, snatching a few crucial steals, playing lockdown defence, and knocking down a couple of 3-pointers, too. The rookie’s confidence continues to grow with every passing game. Based on Anunoby’s excellent defence and veteran-like poise, my bet is that head coach Dwane Casey will stick with the former Hoosier in the starting rotation for the remainder of the season. On night’s when the rest of Toronto’s defence struggles out of the gates, you know that Anunoby will always be working hard on that end of the floor.
Don’t think I forgot about Serge Ibaka. The big man’s shot was falling in the first half, as he entered halftime with 18 points. Without his hot start, the Raptors would have certainly been trailing by a much larger total than they were entering halftime. Once he cooled off in the second half, the rest of the Raptors players picked up the slack.
Tyreke Evans led Memphis with 27 points, while Marc Gasol had 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the loss.
The Raptors next stop in their four-game road trip is in Sacramento against the Kings on Sunday.