Raptors look to stay hot at home vs. Grizzlies
TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors are building for a playoff run and the Memphis Grizzlies are merely rebuilding.
The Grizzlies traveled to Toronto without guard Tyreke Evans, amid rumors about his imminent trade, for a game against the Raptors on Sunday afternoon.
The Raptors (35-16) have the best home record in the NBA at 20-4 after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers 130-105 on Friday night.
Toronto was rebounding from a loss to the Wizards in Washington on Thursday and is 6-3 in the past nine games.
"When you come off a loss like that, you can't wait to get back on the court and redeem yourself and that's what tonight was," said Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, who scored 35 points Friday. "We were coming back home, in our comfort zone, on our own floor, and we just tried to let that energy that we didn't have (Thursday) night out."
The Grizzlies (18-33) have a 5-18 road record and lost their previous game against the Raptors 116-107 on Dec. 8 at home despite leading by 17 points in the first half.
They have lost two in a row -- and four of their past five games -- after dropping a 104-102 decision to the Pistons on Thursday in Detroit, also without Evans.
"The message is just because the circumstances may not be the playoffs, there's a right way to play the game," Grizzlies interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "You're going to be held to a standard that we believe in. If you're not at that standard, you can take a seat. ...
"You're going to play the right way, no matter what. No matter what you get, it's going to be earned."
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol posted his 21st double-double of the season against the Pistons when he scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Asked if the goal was to be in a position to win the game at the end, Gasol replied: "The goal should be to win it. But obviously you can see things clicking and switches being turned on for a lot of guys where they understand now, 'Well, if I do this, not only am I going to play more, but I'm helping the team win.'
"Guys building their toughness up, the ball is moving great. Obviously, we're going to make more shots, I'm sure. Guys will keep building their confidence, and defensively it's a matter of discipline and instinctive energy."
Gasol did not relish talking about potential trades.
"I have enough on my plate than to speak about trades," Gasol said Saturday. "Tyreke is a great piece. He's a guy who brings tremendous things to the team. I wish he'd stay with us because if we're trying to be a good team you need guys like that coming off the bench or whatever role you find for him. Every good team has a guy like that."
Grizzlies center Deyonta Davis (soreness in both knees) has been listed as probable for Sunday. Guard Mike Conley (left heel surgery) and forward Chandler Parsons (sore right knee) are out. Guard Mario Chalmers (left hamstring) could be ready to return Sunday.
Raptors reserve forward-guard C.J. Miles (sore right knee) missed his third straight game Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday.
Even without Miles, the Raptors' second unit played well Friday after struggling Thursday. The return of reserve point guard Fred VanVleet helped. VanVleet scored 16 points Friday after staying in Toronto on Thursday to be with his newborn daughter.
"They bounced back, huge bounce back," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said of his bench. "I was really proud the way they bounced back. Again, we need them, we need their energy, their focus, their attention to detail, their execution, because it's contagious.
"You know, again, they're young guys, there's going to be nights where they just can't get it going and they didn't (Thursday), but (Friday) they did a great job."
The Raptors rested their starters for the fourth quarter.
"It's really important, especially with the early game Sunday (noon), it gives them some time to bounce back from the back-to-back," Casey said. "We have Boston coming in (Tuesday) too, so we have a string of games here, so as much rest as we can get is important. I'm concerned about the early start on Sunday. You know we've got to get jump-started and that's the key concern."
Updated February 3, 2018
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