Still Weak on Defence, but Raptors comeback, down Grizzlies 126-113

Coming into the season the Toronto Raptors were expected to be an elite defensive team with the addition of Scottie Barnes to an already good defensive roster. That hasn’t come to form as Toronto currently ranks as a bottom-five defensive team in the league. Entering Wednesday night, the Raptors were victorious in just two of their last nine games. With O.G Anunoby and Khem Birch ruled out against Memphis, it looked like betting against the Raptors would be a safe bet.

The Raptors defensive struggles continued last night allowing an atrocious 71 first half points. Memphis stormed in front with a 14 point lead in the 3rd quarter and looked to grab all momentum. The Raptors were able to cut the deficit down to two to end the third and it was a back-and-fourth game in the 4th, until a late 18-3 run for Toronto all but ended the game.

Toronto’s backcourt, VanVleet and Trent Jr led the way combining for 49 points, while Barnes and Siakam all had 17 points on the night. Ja Morant continues to be a bright spot for the Grizzlies netting a 23-point near triple-double. Precious Achiuwa, who the Raptors acquired in the Kyle Lowry trade, has struggled on the season but played his best by far scoring 17 points, while also grabbing 4 rebounds.

Chris Boucher, who is struggling mightily this year, was benched in the second quarter after he let Morant dunk the ball and showed no interest in stopping him. Yuta Watanabe, who played his first game this year after recovering from an injury, did the opposite and blocked a Dillon Brooks dunk attempt. Nick Nurse bashed Boucher’s “business decision” after the game saying that minutes are earned on this team, not given, and showing Boucher’s lack of effort would be punished accordingly.

The Grizzlies loss puts them at 9-9 on the season, while the Raptors currently sit at 9-10 as the 12th seed in the East. Could this win be a sign for things to come? The Raptors end their 6-game road trip as they take on the Pacers in Indiana tomorrow at 8 P.M EST.

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