Raptors are in Memphis minus one blur and the Grizzlies did their own subtraction by sending former Pitt standout Sam Young to Philadelphia. Memphis after a slow start to the season have slowly build their way up the Western Conference standings. It was a break through season last year for the former Vancouver franchise. While in Vancouver the Grizzlies never even came close to the playoffs. While in Memphis the Grizzlies had made the playoffs, but until last season had never won a game. They would roll into the playoffs and knock off the top rated Spurs and give OKC all they could handle.
Keep in mind the Grizzlies have not had Zach Randolph for a majority of the year and recently been without Rudy Gay. In terms of Gay he missed that entire run for the Grizzlies last year. We had a total of 10 trades over the last couples days and the deadline yesterday. You would be hard pressed to find a better pick up than what the Grizzlies got with Marreese Speights who they traded Xavier Henry way back in early January. It has been even more vital with loss of Randolph for the majority of the season. So if you shake you head as to why the Grizz sent Sam Young to Philly for basically nothing, it was safe to say the Grizzlies owed some thanks to the Sixers.
Marc Gasol was an all-star and his slacker brother Pau wasn't. Joking aside Marc Gasol doesn't have to take a back seat to his brother any longer. It was only a few weeks ago that Gasol had a dominant 21 point performance vs the Raptors on March 2nd. Mike Conley also had 21 points in that game. Gay lead the way with 23 but he will not be around tonight it looks like. Going back to Conley he played second fiddle to some guy named Greg Oden at Ohio State. After the Blazers release of Oden safe to say Conley has had the better pro career. He has really started to come into his own these last couple seasons.
For the Raptors it is all about opportunity the rest of the way. Bryan Colangelo freely admitted that organization wants to look at what they have the rest of the way. That doesn't mean Solomon Alabi is starting tonight at Center. But it will mean more time for Gary Forbes, Bayless and others. If your name is Butler or Jaamal you can get comfy on that bench cause it is likely where you will stay barring injuries or foul trouble.
Bench Points: Where will they come from now for the Raptors. Linas Kleiza was the one guy beyond Barbosa that was doing it consistently scoring off the bench. But in recent games he has been slumping to a degree. Someone needs to step up and score and make up that 10-14 points you could count on from Barbosa night in night out.
Gasol vs Bargnani: Last time Bargnani was not around when Gasol was playing and scoring his 21 points. Bargnani had a step back in game 4 of his return. But with a day of rest under his belt will see if he starts to keep climbing back to what we saw pre-calf injury.
Bayless vs Conley: This is type of match up that Bayless if he keeps his head can be better than Jose Calderon. If he doesn't and it turns into a one on one shoot out he might lose in that with Conley. He can and should do a better job on defense in comparison to Calderon.
So that is it for Raptors and Grizz Round two. If you are busy watching your bracket and not the game will have a re-cap for you when it is done.
Update 9:10am : Looks like tonight got a lot tougher as Memphis Broadcaster just tweeted he expects Both Gay and Randolph to play. This is what I get for doing my preview early...LOL.