Grizzlies 95, Raptors 86
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Each night, a different Memphis player is stepping forward in the team’s record-setting season. The latest was Stromile Swift.
Pau Gasol scored 29 points, and Swift added 21 points and 13 rebounds as Memphis won for the 10th time in 12 games, holding Toronto to 33 percent shooting in a 95-86 victory Tuesday night.
“When I get the ball, I just try to make things happen,” said Swift, who has scored in double figures in five of the last seven games. “When I’m given an opportunity, I try to bring a spark.”
Vince Carter, who led Toronto with 30 points, keyed a fourth-quarter rally, but the Raptors could get no closer than six on two occasions. Toronto’s shooting percentage was a season-low for a Memphis opponent.
Memphis dominated the inside with a 48-28 advantage in the paint and outrebounded the Raptors 53-47.
“It helps a lot that the inside game is powerful, and it is working together,” Gasol said. “It’s a good weapon for a team.”
Carter, who finished 9-of-28 from the field, got untracked in the third to make a dent in the Memphis lead. He scored nine in the quarter, including seven straight, and the Raptors trailed 73-61 heading into the fourth.
But the Memphis defense stepped up when Toronto got close. Steals and breakaways by Posey and Williams in the final five minutes and five straight points by Swift carried the Grizzlies, who are tied with Dallas for fifth place in the West.
“We are a bunch of guys who have bought into (Coach Hubie Brown’s) system,” Posey said. “We work hard and we know each other’s roles out there. Every night we go out and leave everything on the floor. On any given night, any guy can play big for us. That’s just the makeup of this team.”
The second quarter was the Raptors’ demise, with only some missed inside shots by Memphis keeping the lead from being larger than 54-40 at the half. Toronto mishandled passes on the break, turned the ball over in its halfcourt offense and fell victim to a tighter Memphis defense.
“There were too many quick shots and turnovers in the second quarter. That really cost us,” Toronto coach Kevin O’Neill said. “They’re going to turn those into fast breaks at the other end and easy baskets. We didn’t play very smart during that (second) quarter.”
Memphis took its first lead amid a trio of baskets by Mike Miller near the eight-minute mark of the second, and Swift’s dunk capped a 13-0 Memphis run.
The Grizzlies then rattled off a 13-3 run to close the half, Gasol leading the way for Memphis with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
“We were trying to figure out their defense for most of the game,” Cartersaid. “When we finally started to, it was too late.”
Memphis G/F Shane Battier did not dress because of a sprained right shoulder. …Toronto G Alvin Williams missed his second consecutive game with a sore right knee. Williams had arthroscopic surgery Feb. 27. …Despite having only 12 regular season games left, Memphis was playing the Raptors for the first time this season. The two teams meet Sunday in Toronto. …Official Joey Crawford made his first trip to the Pyramid since handing out five technicals to the Grizzlies in Memphis’ 99-92 loss to Golden State on Feb. 25. Crawford gave a technical to Grizzlies G Earl Watson in the second quarter from the opposite end of the court. … Memphis is 29-9 since Jan. 1. … Marshall had his 32nd double-double, while Swift recorded his fourth of the season. … The previous low shooting percentage by a Memphis opponent was 34.2 percent by the New Jersey Nets on Dec. 13. … Jalen Rose was ejected by referee Luis Grillo in the third quarter after picking up a technical and throwing his headband indisgust.