Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies both seeking quick turnarounds

Jan 31, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25) drives to the basket against Orlando Magic forward Dwayne Bacon (8) and guard Terrence Ross (31) during the second half at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors and the host Memphis Grizzlies will be out to regain their winning ways Monday night.

Both are coming off losses Saturday night.

The Raptors’ three-game winning streak ended with a 132-121 road loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

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The Grizzlies lost 118-109 to the host New Orleans Pelicans for their third defeat in a row following seven straight victories.

The Raptors will try to revert to their good defensive play that was lacking Saturday after a solid performance in defeating the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

“We gave up three 30-point quarters (Saturday) and that’s not going to get it done, especially on the second night of a back-to-back,” said Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who had 25 points and 10 assists on Saturday. “We had our chances to win the game but giving up 132? I don’t know if you can live and survive playing defense that way.”

Atlanta, which had been averaging 12 made 3-pointers per game, sank 19 of 36 3-point attempts.

“I don’t care who it is shooting them,” VanVleet said. “If you’re wide open, this is the NBA, guys are going to make those. So they got comfortable and it wasn’t really anybody that didn’t shoot them.”

“We can’t turn on and off,” said Toronto forward Chris Boucher, who had a career-best 29 points and added 10 rebounds. “I think that’s one thing we’re learning every game is that we can’t just feel like it’s a light switch and today we want to play and tomorrow we don’t. It’s a learning process.”

“It seemed like every time we were there to get right back in it, we blew a layup at the rim — some of those were in transition as well,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “(We’d) make good hard drives and they looked like good shots, too. … They were just rolling off.”

The Raptors were without forward OG Anunoby for the sixth straight game because of a strained calf. He could return later in the week as Toronto continues a six-game road trip.

The Grizzlies’ defense, which had been strong during their winning streak, improved Saturday. But after they took a 104-100 lead in the fourth quarter, the Pelicans went on a 15-0 run.

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“You give yourself a chance to win a ballgame, you’ve got to come up with the plays,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “That’s one thing this group is going to continue to learn from. We’ve done it at moments throughout the season and it’s a good reminder of what we’re capable of doing and what we got to do to finish games.”

Former Raptor center Jonas Valanciunas returned from a five-game absence because of COVID-19 protocols and tallied 23 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench for the Grizzlies.

“He really attacked it well tonight and defensively did some good things,” Jenkins said. “Obviously, his minutes will continue to go up and up as he gets back and reconditions. He was really good for us (Saturday).”

Kyle Anderson scored 21 for Memphis, and Ja Morant had 16 points and nine assists.

Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke did not play because of soreness in his right calf.

“We kind of lost our pace there in the fourth quarter,” Jenkins said. “They forced us into some tough possessions and some tough shots. “We still had some good looks but didn’t make it.”

–Field Level Media