NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, March 14th (All times Eastern)
Memphis Grizzlies (38-26) at Toronto Raptors (36-27), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Memphis Grizzlies look to stay on track and maintain playoff positioning when they head north of the border Friday to take on the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre.
The Grizzlies are seventh in the Western Conference and have won four in a row and 11 of their last 14 games, including an exciting 90-88 triumph at New Orleans Wednesday in the opener of a three-game road trip.
Grizzlies guard Mike Conley lifted a layup over Hornets big man Anthony Davis with 1.5 seconds remaining for the game-winner.
Conley's steal earlier set up a Tony Allen basket to make it 88-88 with 1:16 to go. New Orleans then missed its next three shots and Conley lifted Memphis to victory with a clutch shot. Conley had 16 points, Marc Gasol added 15 and both Zach Randolph and Allen netted 13 points.
"It was a pretty win; everybody fought," Randolph said. "We came together, stepped it up, and it was a game. It was a team win."
Since the All-Star break, the Grizzlies are averaging 101.1 points. They're still one of the best on defense this season, allowing just 94.8 ppg -- third- best in the NBA.
Memphis will close the trip Saturday in Philadelphia and has an 18-12 mark away from FedExForum. It is 35-15 against teams outside the Southwest Division and 34-6 when outshooting the opposition.
The Atlantic Division-leading Raptors have been playing just as well as the Grizzlies with wins in 10 of the last 13 games. They opened a three-game homestand with Wednesday's 101-87 besting of the Detroit Pistons, as DeMar DeRozan did his thing with 25 points and Amir Johnson added 20 and nine rebounds. DeRozan is averaging 23.8 points in the last 11 games.
Kyle Lowry scored 19 points for Toronto, which prevailed for the third straight time at home and is 19-12 at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors, who are 15-4 in their last 19 home games, were able to snatch a win despite shooting 42 percent from the field.
"We didn't shoot the ball that well, but pretty or not pretty, it's a win for us, much needed," Raptors point guard Greivis Vasquez said. "We're playing good basketball. I think over the last two or three weeks we have been playing good basketball."
Toronto is third in the East standings -- one game ahead of Chicago -- and three games in front of Brooklyn for Atlantic bragging rights.
The Raptors will close the residency Sunday versus Phoenix and will try to sweep a season series from Memphis for the first time since 2007-08 (2-0). The Raptors posted a 103-87 win at Memphis on Nov. 13.
Memphis has won four in a row north of the border.
03/14 10:25:26 ET