MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Memphis coach Mike Fratello got his 600th career victory with a lot of help from Shane Battier.
Battier, in his fourth season out of Duke, scored a career-high 33 points to help the Grizzlies rally to beat the Toronto Raptors 86-75 on Friday night.
Battier, who was 10-of-17 from the field, had 12 points in the final period, including nine straight in one stretch, to erase a Toronto lead and make Fratello the 19th coach to reach the 600-victory plataeu.
Memphis has won three straight to improve to 33-25.
“To be completely honest, the only thing I was worried about was getting win No. 33,” Fratello said. “All of that other stuff is secondary.”
Toronto, which dropped its second in a row, scored only eight points in the fourth period, its lowest for a quarter this season. It also matched a Grizzlies’ franchise mark for lowest points allowed in the fourth.
“We just stopped passing the ball,” Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. “We didn’t move the ball around. … And then when we did get some open looks, we didn’t make shots.”
At one point, the Raptors went more than 6 minutes without scoring. The frustration got so bad at the end that Jalen Rose, who led the Raptors with 19 points, was tossed for a flagrant foul with 26.6 seconds remaining then threw his jersey in the crowd as he left the floor.
“We picked up our defensive intensity, trying to make everything hard for them” said Memphis center Lorenzen Wright, who had a season-high 20 points and 15 rebounds. “We knew it was do or die. We didn’t want to lose this game, especially going on this long (four-game) road trip we’re getting ready to go on.”
Memphis continued to play short-handed. Besides leading scorer Pau Gasol, who has missed 16 games with a foot injury, Memphis was without Stromile Swift (ankle sprain) and Bonzi Wells (herniated disc), who was placed on the injured list Friday.
That effectively left the Grizzlies with a seven-man rotation.
“We weren’t overconfident, but we felt we could have and should have won the game,” Rose said. “They took it to us.”
Mitchell talked about his team lacking mental toughness, maybe the worst display of the year, he said. Alston said it was about playing smarter on offense.
“We had a couple of offensive fouls where the defender was down there since yesterday, and we still ran into him,” Alston said.
Memphis struggled from the floor early, but benefited from the Raptors’ uncharacteristically mishandling the ball. Toronto, second in the league for the fewest turnovers per game with 13.4, had seven in the first quarter, leading to 10 Memphis points. That contributed to an early 21-3 run.
The Raptors finished with 17 turnovers, but Memphis managed to mishandle it 18 times.
While Wright carried Memphis early, the offense went through Battier down the stretch. After the nine straight points, Battier punctuated the night with a 3-pointer from the corner while falling out of bounds and the shot clock winding down.
“Personally, I’ve been making shots,” said Battier, who had 25 earlier this week against Golden State. “For a couple of weeks there, it was pretty bad.
“I don’t know how I made a couple of those shots, but I’ll take them.
The Grizzlies activated rookie Andre Emmett to take Wells’ roster spot. … Toronto also made a roster move, activating F Pape Sow and placing Eric Williams on the injured list with a sprained left calf. … Rose realizes the flagrant foul not only earned him an early exit, but will probably cost him some money. “They’re going to be reaching in Jalen Rose’s pocket,” he said. “I’ve got to get ready for that.” … Alston had a four-point play in the second period.