for this game

Dixon supplies spark as Raptors shut down Grizzlies

Mar 8, 2007 - 5:18 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- The Toronto Raptors acquired Juan Dixon to give them a boost. He is doing just that.

Dixon, who was making his second consecutive start in place of an injured Anthony Parker, scored 17 points and the Raptors fixed a leaky defense for at least one night in a 94-87 victory over the Grizzlies.

Chris Bosh had 19 points and nine rebounds and rookie Andrea Bargnani added 18 points for Toronto, which snapped an eight-game losing streak to Memphis and avoided its first four-game overall slide since December 6-11.

"(The win) was very important because the last three games we played very bad," Bargnani said. "We moved the ball very good and played good defense. The last three or four games we played very bad defense. It's very important that we speak to each other and tonight the communication was very good."

The Raptors acquired Dixon on February 22 from the Portland Trail Blazers for guard Fred Jones. The 17th overall pick in the 2002 draft started and scored 14 points in Tuesday's 129-109 setback at Washington and came out on fire against the Grizzlies, who had won their previous four games here.

"He has been helping us a lot since he got here," Toronto guard Jose Calderon said. "We need everybody, sometimes it will be him but other nights it will be someone else."

The shooting guard scored eight points in the first quarter as Toronto overcame a 10-0 early deficit to take a 25-20 edge. He added seven more in the third as the Raptors expanded the lead to 75-59. He shot 6-of-9 from the field and has 55 points on 23-of-40 shooting in his last three games.

"I want to be productive and now that I've had an opportunity to start, filling in for Anthony Parker, I want to play hard at both ends of the floor and help out the team," Dixon said.

"He did a good job, he's an aggressive player offensively and defensively," Bosh said. "He's the guy who's been to the playoffs and he wants to go back. He always brings intensity and he's an outside threat because he can really shoot the ball."

Morris Peterson hit a 3-pointer for an 86-62 lead with 8:50 to play and the Raptors coasted thereafter. The Grizzlies scored the final 18 points of the game to make the final respectable.

"Coming off a back-to-back (against Washington) and we didn't play well the other night, I thought we did an excellent job," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "It's tough playing on back-to-back, it's tough. This team had been sitting here, waiting on us to come out with the energy and the focus, it was a big game for us."

Toronto entered having allowed 249 points in losses to Washington and Cleveland, but held Memphis to under 40 percent for much of the contest while forcing 21 turnovers.

"You've got to set the tone at the defensive end and that's what we tried to do," Dixon said. "Our thought, our communication was tremendous, we really talked to each other, we were able to play help defense, take away their post-ups and get out on transitions. We were on a three-game slide but now we're out of it."

The late run by the Grizzlies got them up to 44 percent (35-of-79).

Mike Miller scored 19 points and Rudy Gay added 17 and a career-high 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have lost five straight and dropped to 4-27 on the road.

"We started off well and we knew they were going to make a run," Miller said. "Their team was struggling coming in, they had lost three in a row, we knew they were going to make a run, especially at home. We just couldn't sustain when they made their run but you have to give them credit.

"They went down 10-0 and they came back with more energy than us, which is disappointing. There are a lot of things we need to get better at. Our concentration level needs to stay at a higher level so we need to get back to the basics."

Parker missed his fifth straight game with a sprained right ankle.

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