The Toronto Raptors will look to extend their win streak to six games when they host a red-hot Memphis Grizzlies team Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre.
The Grizzlies have won their last four games after stumbling a little after the trade which sent Rudy Gay to Toronto and landed former Raptor Ed Davis and ex-Piston Tayshaun Prince in Memphis.
Meanwhile, the Raptors won their fifth straight in Washington Tuesday behind another brilliant night by Gay and DeMar DeRozan.
Programming note: Watch the Raptors battle the Grizzles live on Sportsnet beginning at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
Here are a few thoughts to consider ahead of tonight’s game:
Wednesday night’s contest will provide Gay with his first opportunity for revenge since the late-January trade that sent him to Toronto.
While some might say he has the right to hold a grudge, Gay says he is trying not to worry about it too much although that is the politically correct response these days.
“It’s not about proving people wrong. It’s about proving yourself right,” Gay told the Toronto Sun’s Mike Ganter after the win over the Wizards. “I’m not really putting too much into this game to be honest. It has to be fun. I like the competitiveness. That’s one of the teams I think I’ve had a pretty modest size part of in trying to get that team back to where it is now. It will just be fun to be on the other end and go against them.”
Gay said he is looking forward to seeing some old friends, but that fraternizing will have to wait until after the game.
“It will be good to see them, good to go out there, but we know what we want out of that game,” Gay said. “We can hang out and stuff after the game, but we’re all about business when we’re out on the court.”
On paper, the pairing of Gay and DeRozan looked doomed to failure as both players appeared to share similar strengths (and weaknesses), but the dynamic duo is averaging 21.1 and 19.3 points per game, respectively, since teaming up.
DeRozan credits poiont guard Kyle Lowry as being a big reason why the partnership has worked.
“Kyle is the one who helps us the most,” he said. “He understands where we like to get the ball and Kyle just makes it easy for us.”
Lowry says he is just trying to provide support for the pair.
“Get out the way,” Lowry said. “‘Hey, good shot, DeMar; good shot, Rudy.’ Those guys are easy to play with. You’ve got DeMar and his game is evolving as everyone’s seeing, he’s attacking, he’s making plays and Rudy’s a guy you know he can catch and shoot, he can give out a dunk, he can dribble and make a play.”
The Grizzlies are currently fourth in a much tougher Western Conference with a record of 34-18 while the Raptors are currently sitting 10th in the East at an underwhelming 22-32.
In addition, both teams are on winning streaks, not just the Raptors, so you can understand Ganter’s reaction when he found out that the Raptors were favoured.
Just about fell out of my chair at breakfast this morning. Raps are a two-point favourite over Memphis tonight.