NBA: Grizzlies, Raptors try to snap out of recent funks


The visiting Memphis Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors will begin the search for some consistency Thursday night after coming off losses at home.

The Grizzlies have dropped four of their past five games after losing 125-108 at home to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

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The Raptors have lost seven of their past nine games after they were defeated 124-113 at home by the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Both teams had their stars deliver despite the defeats. Ja Morant scored 34 points for Memphis and Pascal Siakam scored 36 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Toronto.

“All of us have just got to play better offensively,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “Myself, players. We’ve just got to be better.”

The Grizzlies defeated the Suns 125-100 in Phoenix on Friday for their only win of a four-game road trip.

“We’re just having a rough patch of four or five games,” Jenkins said. “We haven’t lived up to our standard and played like we’re capable of.”

The only player to score in double figures for the Grizzlies on Tuesday — other than Morant — was Desmond Bane with 14 points, including 12 in the first half. It was the second consecutive game in which the Grizzlies did not provide much offensive support for Morant.

The Raptors got only four points in 23 minutes from Fred VanVleet on Tuesday. VanVleet, who also had seven assists, was dealing with back spasms and did not practice on Wednesday. Christian Koloko had four points in nine minutes on Tuesday before leaving with a sore knee that was to be re-evaluated on Wednesday.

Malachi Flynn scored 10 points against the Clippers and could see more playing time depending on VanVleet’s status.

The Raptors shot 26.1 percent (6 of 23) from 3-point range Tuesday. Their inability to shoot 3-pointers has been a recurring problem.

“(The Clippers are) as deep a team as you are going to see in this league,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “And if you are going to trade punches with them, we are going to have to make some of those 3s that again were open that we didn’t.”

The Clippers hit 39.5 percent (15 of 38) of their 3-point attempts against the Raptors.

“We just couldn’t keep pace with the 3-ball and couldn’t keep them off the glass enough to really trade punches with them,” Nurse said. “They just really outclassed us from both behind the line and on the backboards tonight.”

The Raptors did shoot 51.2 percent (43 for 84) from the field on Tuesday.

Scottie Barnes recorded 17 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in 37 minutes for his ninth double-double of the season. Barnes ranks second on the Raptors in double-doubles this season, behind Siakam’s 10.

The game against the Clippers was the first of a stretch of nine of 10 games at home for the Raptors. They have lost four straight in their own building, however.

It was a good night for two members of Toronto’s 2019 NBA championship team now with the Clippers: Kawhi Leonard and Norman Powell.
Leonard, playing his second game in Toronto as a member of the Clippers, was quietly effective with 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.

Powell, playing his first game in Toronto since being traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in March 2021, scored 22 points.

–Field Level Media

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