The Toronto Raptors’ six-game road trip will take them to FedExForum next to take on Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies. Nick Nurse’s team is currently 1-3 on their road schedule and are hoping to better their record with a win on Wednesday against Memphis.
Toronto is one of those rare teams who do well on the road compared to home games. They are 6-4 outside of their home court against some of the best teams in the league. Their loss to the Golden State Warriors was closer than the score suggested. The Toronto Raptors will face a hostile crowd in Memphis.
The Memphis Grizzlies will be hoping they have made the turnaround with a nail-biting 119-118 win over the Utah Jazz. Taylor Jenkins’ team has seemingly improved their league-worst defense after it cost them a couple of wins in the last few games. The defense helped suffocate Jazz superstar Donovan Mitchell to 5-20 shooting, including 3-10 from downtown.
Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies will be looking to test their resolve after a long players-only meeting held in Utah. The game against the Toronto Raptors will be a test of their commitment to be better on both ends of the floor.
Fixture: Toronto Raptors vs Memphis Grizzlies | 2021-22 NBA season
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 24th; 8:00 PM ET (Thursday, November 25th; 6:30 AM IST)
Venue: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Toronto Raptors Preview
Since going 6-3 to start the season, the Toronto Raptors have gone just 2-7. All of Toronto’s five starters are averaging in double-figures, which is very rare in the NBA. Despite the depth and variety of their scoring, they have just not been able to get the wins recently.
One of the biggest culprits of the Toronto Raptors’ situation is the bench. Nick Nurse has hardly been able to get anything out of the second unit, causing the starters to play heavy minutes. When the first unit struggles, nobody from the bench mob has taken up the slack.
The Toronto Raptors, who previously faced the NBA-best defense of the Golden State Warriors, will battle the league-worst defense of the Memphis Grizzlies. This might be the perfect game to get their bench going. Pascal Siakam also seems to have his legs under him, which is great news for the Raptors.
Key Player - Fred VanVleet
Despite the return of Pascal Siakam to the lineup and the possible comeback of OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet remains the heartbeat of the Toronto Raptors. The team’s second-leading scorer has improved his playmaking and defensive abilities without former captain Kyle Lowry.
Although one can’t mistake him for Chris Paul when it comes to reading the game, Fred VanVleet has done enough to keep the Toronto Raptors rolling. He’s one of the key reasons why Toronto's starters are all scoring at least 10 points a game. He’ll be even more critical in this game with Ja Morant on the opposing side waiting to destroy the Raptors.
Toronto Raptors Predicted Lineup
G - Fred VanVleet | G - Gary Trent Jr. | F - Pascal Siakam | F - Scottie Barnes | C - Khem Birch
Memphis Grizzlies Preview
The Memphis Grizzlies were on a two-game winning streak before getting thoroughly smoked by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Their performance was the worst of the season, which prompted a players-only meeting before the Utah Jazz game. They went on to win the game against Utah but need to sustain their effort to show that they have stayed true to their promise to be better.
The offense has not been the problem for the Memphis Grizzlies. It’s their pathetic defense that is the worst by a significant margin. They are embarrassingly behind by three points in the defensive rating to the 29th ranked Orlando Magic.
If the defense supposedly does not take an off night, the Memphis Grizzlies’ defense has slept in the last 10 games. Effort, communication and execution will be key for the team to be successful this season. Ja Morant’s heroic performances could be for nothing if they don’t crank up their defense to a respectable standing.
Key Player - Ja Morant
Ja Morant went on record to say that he didn’t get the recognition that he felt he deserved. Well, this year, the NBA has certainly recognized Morant’s superstar talent. He has already led the Memphis Grizzlies to wins over the LA Clippers (twice), Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors. One of the Warriors’ two losses this season was made possible by the 22-year-old's dominance and big-game heroics.
The Memphis Grizzlies made the playoffs last year because of Ja Morant. Although they only won one game against the Utah Jazz, that series was only a prelude to what Morant will be this season. Outside of Steph Curry, he is probably the most awe-inspiring player to play this season.
Memphis Grizzlies Predicted Lineup
G - Ja Morant | G - Desmond Bane | F - Kyle Anderson | F - Jaren Jackson Jr. | C - Steven Adams
Raptors vs Grizzlies Match Prediction
OG Anunoby could make his return to the Toronto Raptors, which could greatly affect the outcome of this game. His presence makes the Raptors deeper and more versatile. He is not just the team’s leading scorer, but also one of the league’s best defenders. He could be another long and tough defender who will be tasked with slowing down Ja Morant.
It remains to be seen if the Memphis Grizzlies can stop their bleeding on defense. If they do that, they will have a great chance against the Toronto Raptors.
Toronto’s a very solid road team that could get the win over the Grizzlies’ porous defense.
Where to watch the Raptors vs Grizzlies game
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The NBA League Pass will stream the game live. Bally Sports Memphis and TSN will cover the matchup between the Toronto Raptors and the Memphis Grizzlies as it happens.