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Grizzlies 103, Raptors 82

The SportsXchange

MEMPHIS -- The Memphis Grizzlies, who own the best record in the NBA, got back to doing what they do best Wednesday.

After leading by one point at halftime, Memphis rode its defense to a 103-82 victory over the Toronto Raptors at FedExForum.

Six third-quarter steals and numerous other deflections turned 48-47 Memphis halftime lead into an 81-61 blowout heading into the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies (11-2) brought it home from there.

Despite feeling a bit fatigued after sitting out Monday's comeback win over the Cleveland Cavaliers with flu-like symptoms, point guard Mike Conley was a steadying force for the Grizzlies. He hit a couple of early 3-pointers, kept his team in good rhythm and finished with 16 points, making four of five 3-point attempts.

Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol scored 17 each for Memphis, with Randolph grabbing 13 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season. Rudy Gay had 14 points, and Marreese Speights had his best game of the young season with a team-high 18 points plus 12 rebounds off the bench.

The Raptors (3-13) got a team-high 16 points from DeMar DeRozan. Jose Calderon and Kyle Lowry added 12 each for Toronto.

Not only did the Grizzlies dominate the second half with defense, but they also did it with inside muscle. Memphis outscored the Raptors 28-6 in the paint in the final two quarters.

As in Monday's win over the Cavaliers, the Grizzlies came out sharp in the first five minutes against the young Raptors, hitting their six of their first seven shots.

At that point, Memphis lost focus. Instead of taking simple open shots, the Grizzlies often overpassed, leading to contested shots in traffic. After their hot shot, Mempnis missed 11 of its next 14 shots and trailed 27-24 after the first quarter.

There wasn't much separation in the second period, either. Though Speights had one of better first halves of the season, with eight points and three rebounds, Memphis couldn't get a couldn't get a consistent run.

The Raptors did an excellent job of pushing Gasol and Randolph from the post area. It's why Toronto, despite giving up five Memphis 3-pointers, was able to stay with the Grizzlies the entire half. The Raptors outscored Grizzlies 26-18 in the paint before the break.

NOTES: Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins was happy to have Conley back in the starting lineup. Without Conley, Memphis stumbled around offensively for the first three quarters Monday. "People don't want to give Mike his due for what he brings to our team," Hollins said. "We're limited offensively without him, because he gets people to where they should be in our offense. Mike is a big part of our pick and roll offense. We couldn't do that without him (against the Cavs), so basically we were throwing the ball in the post and hoping for the best."
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