Memphis Grizzlies vs. Toronto Raptors Game Preview and Game Thread

Feb 5, 2023 - 11:00 AM
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Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (32-20, 21-4 home) vs. Toronto Raptors (24-30, 9-18 away)

WHEN: 5:00 PM CT

WHERE: FedEx Forum

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis


MEMPHIS: Jaren Jackson Jr. (Questionable, Thigh), Ja Morant (Questionable, Wrist), Steven Adams (Out, Knee), Dillon Brooks (Out, League Suspension), Kennedy Chandler (Out, G-League Assignment), Jake LaRavia (Out, G-League Assignment), Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Out, Two-way Transfer), Vince Williams Jr. (Out, Two-way Transfer)

TORONTO: OG Anunoby (Out, Wrist), Otto Porter Jr. (Out, Foot)


MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Ziaire Williams, Jaren Jackson Jr., Xavier Tillman

TORONTO: Fred Vanvleet, Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, Precious Achiuwa, Pascal Siakam

The past two weeks have not been particularly friendly for the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have lost seven of their last eight games and have not won a road game since January 14. Fortunately, Memphis returns to the Grindhouse tonight.

The Grizzlies last faced the Toronto Raptors on December 29. Memphis won 119-106 behind 25 points from Dillon Brooks. Unfortunately, the Grizz are without DB tonight, after he was suspended for Thursday’s altercation with Donovan Mitchell. Memphis also relied heavily on Steven Adams in the most recent matchup between the two teams. Adams scored 14 points and collected 17 rebounds. Brandon Clarke and Xavier Tillman will have to replace Big Kiwi’s rebounding production against the Raptors who only have one player above 6’9”.

The Raptors are at a crossroads. Toronto currently sits as the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference, a game and a half out of the play-in tournament. With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Raptors have been at the center of trade rumors. Gary Trent Jr., Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby have all been reported to be available, and the Grizzlies have been connected to Anunoby. So while watching tonight’s game, keep your eye on players who may be on the move soon. Anunoby may be out but Trent has also been floated as a trade target for Memphis. Perhaps tonight could serve as an audition.

There has been a growing urgency to make a trade among Grizzlies fans during the team’s recent skid. While a move is what is on every fan’s mind, Memphis has another objective at hand and it is on the court. How can the Grizzlies get back on track?

Memphis Grizzlies v Toronto Raptors Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

Jaren “First-time All-Star” Jackson Jr.

When Jaren Jackson Jr. was selected as an All-Star reserve on Thursday night, even Grizzlies fans were surprised. JJJ did not receive voting love from players, fans, or the media but coaches recognized Jackson as one of the league’s premier stars. As the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year and one of the best players on one of the best teams, it is not unreasonable that he was selected. For the first time in franchise history, the Memphis Grizzlies have two players in the All-Star game.

Jackson is listed as questionable after injuring his thigh last week against the Trailblazers. Surely, the Grizzlies recognize that they cannot drop another game, especially against an opponent below .500. While Ja Morant may be Memphis’s biggest scoring threat and most dynamic offensive player night-to-night, Jackson is the Grizzlies’ most valuable player. His impact on defense is game-changing, and he was sorely missed in Thursday’s loss to the Cavaliers. If Jackson plays, the Grizzlies can control the paint, limiting the effectiveness of Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes.

Trip’s offense has also been spectacular as of late. In Jackson’s last two games, he has averaged 23 points and 7.5 rebounds. Against Indiana, Jackson shot 12/19 from the field and 3/8 from beyond the arc. Two nights later, JJJ shot 9/14 from the field. If Jackson can continue to produce on offense, Memphis should grab the win at home.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Three-point shooting

Besides Desmond Bane, the Grizzlies have not had a true knockdown three-point shooter the entire season. Welcome, Danny Green! The veteran went 1-4 from deep in his season debut on Wednesday, but there is still hope that he can be the shooting spark the Grizzlies desperately need off the bench. Green is a career 39.9% three-point shooter and brings a veteran presence to the court that the youngsters could certainly use.

Behind Bane and Green, the three-point shooting is spare. Tyus Jones is shooting at 38.2% from deep but in his last ten games, Jones is shooting only 32.6% from beyond the arc. Santi Aldama’s shooting varies from night to night. Sometimes he can shoot the lights out, sometimes he can not get a shot to fall. For Memphis to get back on track and contend come playoff time, the Grizzlies’ three-point shooting must be better. If the roster as currently constructed cannot improve from deep, then the Grizzlies should look toward the trade market.


Jackson and Morant are listed as questionable and any prediction for tonight’s game completely hinges on their health. If Memphis is down JJJ and Morant, on top of Brooks and Adams, it is hard to see them pulling out the win. It is rare for a team to win without 80% of its starting lineup. However, I am confident the Grizzlies realize the importance of catching a win tonight and I expect Memphis’s All-Star duo to play.

Memphis 116, Toronto 109

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