MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies’ front line checked most of the usual boxes Wednesday night at FedExForum.
Center Marc Gasol had 26 points and also played distributor with a team-high five assists. Power forward Zach Randolph notched his seventh straight double-double since coming back from a knee injury with 19 points and 13 rebounds. All of that, plus a dominating 29-7 run in the fourth quarter, added up to a 92-86 Grizzlies’ victory over the Toronto Raptors.
But Gasol and Randolph were unhappy with another statistic from the game: Toronto won the boards 50-45 and pulled down 21 offensive rebounds.
“Today was frustrating,” Gasol said. “There would be a crazy bounce, I’d be (out of position) or there would be a miscommunication, and the ball would go right into their hands again.”
Not that the Raptors were very successful when the ball was in their hands. They were 27-for-85 for 31.8 percent. They made just 5-of-28 3-pointers (17.9 percent). Forward DeMar DeRozan, who got shut out vs. Milwaukee on Monday night, went 2-for-11 against the Grizzlies and finished with just six points.
“We can’t buy a bucket,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “(DeRozan) just missed some good looks. I don’t know if he has his whole rhythm back yet (he missed almost two months with an injury). He had some looks he normally makes. I don’t think defense had anything to do with it.”
Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger had a different opinion.
“We just tried to have urgency getting out to guys,” he said of defending the 3-point line.
The Raptors (27-15) have now lost eight of their last 11 games. Guard Lou Williams led the scoring with 21 points off the bench and guard Kyle Lowry scored 20 points and had eight rebounds. Center Jonas Valanciunas had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and forward Patrick Patterson chipped in 11 points with nine rebounds.
Memphis (30-12) has won five of its last six games. The teams split the season series 1-1.
Down 61-60 at the start of the fourth quarter, Memphis opened with an 11-3 run to take a 71-64 lead at the 6:20 mark after guard Nick Calathes made a steal and a layup. The Raptors went almost five minutes without a field goal and missed their first six shots from the floor in the fourth quarter.
The Raptors cut the lead to one, at 71-70, on a corner 3-pointer from Lowry with 5:35 to go. But the Grizzlies went on a 6-0 spurt to go back up 77-70 as Randolph hit a jumper at 3:35. The Raptors never got closer than within four points the rest of the way and Memphis led by as many as 13 points late.
The Grizzlies also grabbed more rebounds in the fourth quarter, 16-12, and Gasol scored 11 points in the final frame. With the NBA All-Star starters to be announced on Thursday, Gasol’s name could be called as a Western Conference starter.
“He deserves it,” Memphis point guard Mike Conley (12 points) said. “He’s worked hard to get where he is.”
And the Grizzlies worked hard to win on a night when they couldn’t generate much of a flow.
“One of them nights,” Randolph said. “I don’t think you’ll see it happen too often that (the other team) gets 21 offensive rebounds.”
Said Conley: “It wasn’t a pretty game. Nothing came easy.”
Memphis went 34-for-74 from the floor (45.9 percent) and was 1-for-7 from 3-point distance (14.3 percent).
But the Raptors’ shooting was worse, and one reason they had so many offensive rebounds was that they had many chances for offensive rebounds.
“Maybe we are too focused on defense,” Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez said. “We have to figure out a way to make shots. We shot it terribly tonight and we are concerned.”
NOTES: The Grizzlies, according to multiple media reports, will sign 6-foot-9 F Tyrus Thomas to a 10-day contract. Thomas has played two games with the D-League’s Iowa Energy (the Grizzlies’ affiliate) after working out for Memphis last week. Thomas, 28, was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the fourth overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. He hasn’t played in the NBA in almost two years. Memphis coach Dave Joerger said the team’s interest in Thomas was more long term than immediate, but added, “He gives us some length and athleticism we don’t have.” … Raptors G DeMar DeRozan was held scoreless vs. Milwaukee on Monday, going 0-for-9 from the floor. He had put up three straight games of at least 20 points after missing 21 games with an adductor injury. … New acquisition Jeff Green moved into the Grizzlies lineup at SF Wednesday with Tony Allen shifting to SG and Courtney Lee coming off the bench.
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