Raptors-Grizzlies Preview

The Associated Press

Jerryd Bayless wasn't at his best as he replaced point guard Mike Conley in the Memphis Grizzlies' last game, but he came up big at the end.

Bayless did the same thing the last time the Toronto Raptors were in town, yet he was wearing a different jersey back then.

Conley could be back in the lineup Wednesday night against Toronto as the league-best Grizzlies try to continue their franchise-best start.

With Conley out with flu-like symptoms Monday against Cleveland, the Grizzlies (10-2) were forced to switch up their starting five for the first time this season. Bayless, a free agent signee this summer after spending most of the last two seasons with Toronto, got the nod from coach Lionel Hollins and finished with nine points, six assists and three turnovers as Memphis rallied for an 84-78 victory in its lowest scoring game of the season.

"I shot terrible (3 for 11)," said Bayless, who tallied the game's final three points as the Grizzlies outscored the Cavs 22-9 in the final 12 minutes. "I didn't play well, and honestly it wasn't me, it was the guys who really picked us back up. It was my fault we got in the hole, and I've just got to play better.''

Bayless could have less of an impact Wednesday with Conley, who is averaging 14.8 points and 6.5 assists, possibly returning, but the young guard was a major factor as these teams split the season series in 2011-12.

Bayless led the Raptors with 46 total points and 13 assists in those contests after scoring five of his 28 points in the overtime and handing out nine assists in a 114-110 victory at FedExForum on March 16 - Memphis' last regular-season loss in 2011-12.

Toronto had dropped the previous six games between these teams.

The Raptors (3-12) don't appear to be in a good position to make it two consecutive road wins over the Grizzles - who are 6-1 at home for the first time - as they arrive on the heels of a fifth straight defeat, 117-101 at Houston on Tuesday.

Toronto is 1-8 on the road for the first time in six seasons.

"Houston outran us down the floor and our (16) turnovers killed us,'' coach Dwane Casey said.

Toronto can't afford those errors as it will take on a Memphis team that's forced at least 10 turnovers in 116 consecutive games - the longest such streak in the league.

Pressure from Conley (2.2 steals per game) and backcourt mate Tony Allen (1.9) could cause problems for Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, who will face a former team for the second straight night.

Lowry, a Memphis first-round pick in 2006, was held to seven points with eight rebounds and five assists on Tuesday when he took on the Rockets for the first time after spending the past three-plus seasons with them.

Lowry averaged 21.0 points, 7.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds in three games versus Memphis in 2011-12.

Conley totaled 29 points and 15 assists versus Toronto last season, while Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol led Memphis in those contests with 49 points apiece.

Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, who came up two rebounds shy of extending his double-double streak this season to 12 on Monday, finished with 25 points and nine boards in the Raptors' last visit. It was his first appearance since tearing his right MCL on New Year's Day.

What to Read Next