Toronto (30-39) at Memphis (43-26)

Cloudy Currently: Memphis, TN
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Tue Mar 23, 2004
  • TV: RNET
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Vince Carter has carried the Toronto Raptors within inches of the playoffs.

Carter will look to continue his scoring tear when the Raptors travel to Memphis to play the surprising Grizzlies.

Carter is averaging 27.6 points in 10 games since returning from a sprained left ankle on March 2. The Raptors are 5-5 over that span to move within one game of Cleveland for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Toronto missed the playoffs last season after posting a disappointing 24-58 record.

Carter had 42 points and 12 assists on Sunday, leading the Raptors to a 121-120 overtime victory over New Orleans. Jalen Rose added 26 for Toronto, including a tying shot at the end of regulation.

“This win really gives us an opportunity to make some noise and sneak up on some people and move up maybe several spots,” said Carter, who’s averaging 22.3 points this season.

Carter, who also had 12 rebounds, drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer with 18 seconds left in overtime, then hit a pair of game-sealing free throws.

Memphis needs seven wins in it last 13 games to secure the franchise’s first 50-win season.

Pau Gasol and Stromile Swift had 17 points apiece and James Posey hit several clutch shots down the stretch for the Grizzlies in a 99-95 win over Indiana on Saturday.

Memphis has won eight of 10 and is in sixth place in the Western Conference playoff race.

Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said the Grizzlies, who are having the best season in franchise history are way ahead of what everybody expected.

“They are sixth seed in the West right now and that’s not an accident,” Carlisle added. “They play 10 guys and they come at you with high energy.”

STANDINGS (through March 21): Raptors - 6th place, 20 GB, Central Division. Grizzlies - 4th place, 4 1/2 GB, Midwest Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Raptors - F Carter, F Donyell Marshall, C Chris Bosh, G Morris Peterson, G Rose. Grizzlies - F Posey, F Gasol, C Jake Tsakalidis, G Jason Williams, G Mike Miller.

TEAM LEADERS: Raptors - Carter, 22.3 ppg; Marshall, 9.5 rpg; Carter and Rose, 4.9 apg. Grizzlies - Gasol, 17.8 ppg and 8 rpg; Williams, 6.8 apg.

2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 9, 2003; Grizzlies, 119-106. At Toronto, Gasol had 32 points and Swift added 23 to lead the Grizzlies. Carter had 26 points on 10-for-24 shooting for the Raptors.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Raptors - 13-21 on the road; Grizzlies - 27-9 at home.

INJURIES: Raptors - F-C Robert Archibald (back); G Milt Palacio (knee). Grizzlies - C Lorenzen Wright (knee); G Dahntay Jones (triceps); G Miller (back).

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