Short-handed Raptors drop ugly 98-91 decision to Memphis Grizzlies

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TORONTO — Jaren Jackson Jr., scored 25 points to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 98-91 victory over the Raptors on Tuesday, giving short-handed Toronto its third consecutive loss.

Pascal Siakam had 20 points to top the Raptors, who, missing several key players including OG Anunoby, fell to 2-8 at home. Toronto (9-13) has won just three times in its last 13 games.

Scottie Barnes had 19 points, while Fred Van Vleet finished with 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds, and Yuta Watanabe had 15 points in the Raptors’ second night of a season-long seven-game homestand.

Dillon Brooks of Mississauga, Ont., chipped in with 17 points for Memphis (11-10).

Six nights earlier in Memphis, the Raptors rallied in the second half to beat the Grizzlies by 13.

There were no late-game heroics on Tuesday however.

The Raptors got off to a horrible start. They trailed by 17 points in the first half. Their offence was moving like sludge.

They finally showed some life in the third quarter, pulling to within a point with a 14-2 run that was punctuated by a steal by Barnes. The Raptors rookie slowed down and looked back at a trailing Memphis big man Steven Adams before scoring.

Barnes’ taunting prompted former Raptor-turned-analyst Alvin Williams to say on the broadcast: “Scottie has to stop doing that. It was a great play, but you’ve gotta attack.”

When Siakam picked up his fifth foul with 1:31 left in the third, Chris Boucher, who’s been planted at the end of the bench recently, subbed in and scored on a dunk at the buzzer to send Toronto in the fourth trailing 70-67.

Their momentum fizzled in the fourth however, and when Brooks scored on a 27-footer with 8:01 to play, Memphis was back up by 11.

The Raptors rallied again, and Barnes had a pair of three-pointers 12 seconds apart to make it a four-point game with 19.5 seconds left, but Brooks connected on a pair of free throws to all but clinch the win for the visitors.

Injuries continue to plague Toronto. Anunoby sat out for the seventh consecutive game with a hip injury, while the Raptors were also missing Gary Trent Jr. (calf), Khem Birch (knee) and Goran Dragic (personal leave).

The Grizzlies were missing star guard Ja Morant, who’s expected to be out for several weeks with a sprained left knee.

The Raptors couldn’t generate anything on the offensive end in the first half, shooting 4-for-19 from three-point range. They made just eight shots in the first quarter while coughing up 10 points on five turnovers. They trailed 27-18 heading into the second.

Adams’ layup capped an 11-0 run that put the Grizzlies by 17 points midway through the second, prompting a smattering boos from the Scotiabank Arena crowd. The Raptors headed into the halftime break down 50-39.

Their 39 points in the first half were almost a season-low — they scored just 37 against Washington on opening night.

On “Canada Basketball night,” the Raptors honoured former players Miranda Ayim, Brady Heslip, Jevohn Shepherd and Joel Anthony and ex-Raptors and Canada boss Glen Grunwald.

The Raptors host the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

 

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