Memphis has won six straight meetings with Toronto, with an average margin of victory of nearly 16 points per game.
The Grizzlies are riding a three-game winning streak after an 84-78 win Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings. The streak is the longest for Memphis since a five-game winning streak from Dec. 28-Jan. 6.
“We’ve been doing a better job these last few games of keeping our defense up the whole game,” Grizzlies point guard Chucky Atkins said. “That’s the key for us.”
Memphis is allowing a league-best 87.7 points per game and has only allowed two 100-point efforts by opponents in the last 20 games.
All-Star Pau Gasol led the Grizzlies with 24 points last Wednesday, then grabbed 12 rebounds for the Western Conference in his All-Star game debut on Sunday.
The Barcelona, Spain native is the leading scorer rebounder for Memphis, and has added a career-best 4.3 assists this season. He’s averaging 26.0 points with 10.7 boards and 5.3 assists during the team’s three-game winning streak.
The 2002 NBA Rookie of the Year has scored 22.3 points with 8.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists in eight games against the Raptors. He did not score in 14 minutes of at the All-Star game.
The Grizzlies are tied for sixth in the West with New Orleans as they try to reach the postseason for the third straight year.
The Raptors enter the second half 5 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Toronto won three of its last four games and six of nine heading into the break.
“You can’t take nothing away with how hard (the Knicks) played,” James said. “Any dog, you put him in the corner, no matter if they’re vicious or not, they’re going to bite back.”
Bosh, who had eight points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes at the All-Star game, has averaged 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds in five career games against Memphis—all losses.
The Raptors are the highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference with 100.4 points per game, but they also have the worst defense, allowing 102.6 points.
They also have held an opponent below 90 points in just five games all season.