Memphis Grizzlies vs Toronto Raptors: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON, Canada

When: Saturday, January 19th, 7:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): Fox Sports Southeast – Memphis, SN1 | TSN Radio 1050 Toronto

Memphis Grizzlies (Away)

Head Coach: J.B. Bickerstaff {All-Time 71-107 | HOU, MEM}

After a hot start to the season, the Memphis Grizzlies have predictably cooled off by this point in the season. With a record of 19-25, the Memphis Grizzlies are ranked fourteenth in the Western Conference and are almost ten games out of a playoff spot.

It’s been a difficult road for the Memphis Grizzlies as of late. Just ten games ago they were fighting for a spot in the playoffs, but with a 1-9 record in their last ten they are essentially out of the conversation.

The Grizzlies will be facing off with a hungry Toronto Raptors team who are in a see-saw affair with the Milwaukee Bucks for first in the Western Conference. As a team the Raptors are stronger than the Grizzlies, but if they can punish the Raptors inside they may have a chance.

Toronto Raptors (Home)

Head Coach: Nick Nurse {All-Time 33-13 | TOR}

The Toronto Raptors are as capable as ever, posting a scoring differential of +5.2 over their opponents. With a record of 33-13, they are essentially tied for first place with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Toronto Raptors faced a tough loss against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night and will need to take steps in their next few games to rectify their recent streak. While they’ve won seven of their last ten, the Toronto Raptors are in such a close match with the Bucks that every win will be paramount to them being in first by the all-star break.

The Memphis Grizzlies play a style of basketball that the Raptors have recently struggled against. When they’ve been forced into the half court, the Raptors have found it difficult to come up with good scoring opportunities. If they can’t get their running game going, the Raptors may have a tough time taking down this energetic Grizzlies squad.

What’s At Stake?

The Memphis Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors have a bit of a shared history as both began as expansion franchises in 1995, when the Grizzlies were founded in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The all-time series between the teams is all square, with a series record of 23-23.

A win for the Grizzlies would do little for their standing, keeping them in place in the Western Conference.

A win for the Raptors would put them back in pole position in the Eastern Conference, with a slight edge over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Questions to answer

Can Memphis control the pace against the Raptors?

Who will step up as the bench leader for the Raptors?

We are going to compare the Memphis Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Memphis Have the Slowest Pace in the League

The Memphis Grizzlies have aptly been considered “Grind City” to this point in their history. Built on the foundation of defence, pace control, and post-play, the Grizzlies put together years of success in the Western Conference.

Today their team is lacking notable talent across the board. They hold on to their “Grind City” identity, maintaining the slowest pace in the league but forcing opponents into the lowest field-goal rate across the league. But the Grizzlies’ inability to put the ball in the basket at a high enough rate shackles them in their attempts to keep up with their opponents’ scoring.

The Toronto Raptors are a fast-paced team. With the likes of Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard, and Pascal Siakam leading the break, they score quite a bit in transition alone. If the Memphis Grizzlies can limit the Raptors’ break opportunities and force them into a half-court game, they may be able to pull one from the Eastern Conference leaders.

Vanvleet and Wright Combined for 0 Points

The Toronto Raptors were in for a tough match against the Boston Celtics and they got it. After a good first quarter for the Raptors, they failed to establish themselves in the clutch which allowed the Celtics to get back into the game.

One of the key reasons they failed to succeed was their lack of bench contributions. Fred Vanvleet and Delon Wright, usually solid contributors for the Toronto Raptors, combined for a 0 points on the stat sheet against the Celtics.

The Raptors backup guards need to rectify their inconsistencies quickly. While health hasn’t been great for the Toronto Raptors so far this season, players that had been steady contributors have been thrown off rhythm due to the regular lineup changes. If it takes alternating some of the starting players with the bench to maintain production, so be it. But the Raptors can no longer afford to allow the bench unit to give up leads that the starters had built up.

Memphis Grizzlies Roster Notes

F Kyle Anderson – Out (Ankle) – The Grizzlies announced that Anderson is dealing with a grade II sprain of his left ankle and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks.

G-F Dillon Brooks – Out (Toe) – The Grizzlies announced Brooks will undergo surgery to repair a ruptured ligament in his right big toe.

Toronto Raptors Roster Notes

F OG Anunoby – Out (Personal) – The Raptors listed Anunoby as OUT for Wednesday’s game (Jan. 16) against the Celtics.

F CJ Miles – Out (Hip) – Miles was ruled OUT for Wednesday’s game (Jan. 16) against the Celtics.

C Jonas Valanciunas – Out (Thumb) – Head coach Nick Nurse said Valanciunas will miss at least another 2 weeks.

Head-to-Head: Mike Conley vs Kyle Lowry

Mike Conley

Point Guard | 6-1, 175lb (185cm, 79kg) | Ohio State | Exp. 12 Years

19.9 PPG | 6.2 APG | 3.3 RPG | 1.3 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 1.8 TOV | .418 FG% | .353 3P%

Kyle Lowry

Point Guard | 6-1, 196lb (185cm, 88kg) | Villanova | Exp. 13 Years

13.9 PPG | 9.5 APG | 4.3 RPG | 1.5 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 2.3 TOV | .421 FG% | .317 3P%

Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry face-off in a match-up of former teammates and top guards in the NBA. Both are incredibly steady, playmaking guards, that initiate the play for their respective teams. While Lowry has missed a number of games this season due to injury, it should be a fully healthy matchup as they take each other on in Toronto.

As the Memphis Grizzlies have declined over the seasons, Mike Conley has taken on more and more of the scoring burden in an attempt to keep his team afloat. Steady as ever, his link-up play with Marc Gasol is still incredibly effective. It will take a big match from Conley and Gasol in order for them to take one from the Toronto Raptors, but if Conley can control the pace it is not impossible.

Kyle Lowry is the heart of the Toronto Raptors. During his eleven games out the Toronto Raptors struggled to initiate their offence, opting more for Leonard isolations and points in transition. Lowry will need to take on more of the scoring burden with the Raptors. While Ibaka, Siakam, and Leonard have all increased their offensive production, without Lowry in the scoring mix they are suddenly down in half-court options.

Memphis Grizzlies at Toronto Raptors Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Toronto Raptors favoured over the Memphis Grizzlies by 12.5, with an over/under of 110.