The Toronto Raptors (22-32) play the first of a three-game home stand tonight at the ACC, as they welcome the Memphis Grizzlies (34-18) to town. Both teams are riding respective win streaks coming in to this one, and will look to continue their recent success tonight.
Cage’s Keys to the Game:
1. Dominate the inside
The Grizzlies have one of the best front-courts in the NBA, and it’s important that the Toronto Raptors hold their own in the paint tonight. It’s not going to be easy to trying to stop the duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, but shutting them down would be very important.
2. Bench Production
This is the second-night of a back-to-back for both teams, so it’s important that the Raptors’ second-unit comes out and produces tonight. This is a Grizzlies team that relies heavily on their starters, so the Raptors need to make sure they get a great deal of energy from the bench tonight.
3. Mike Conley
With guys like Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, the Toronto Raptors need to make sure they don’t sleep on the 6th year product out of Ohio State. The Grizzlies find themselves winners of four straight, and its thanks enlarge part to Mike Conley’s solid play. He’s averaged 19 points (shooting 55% from the field) in his last few games, and must have a close eye kept on him throughout the night.
4. Rudy Gay
Don’t think for a second that Rudy Gay doesn’t have this game circled on his calendar, as he looks to put on quite a show against the team that shipped him to Toronto, just a few weeks ago. Rudy Gay has averaged 21.1 points in eight games since joining the Toronto Raptors, and will be playing with an extra chip on his shoulder tonight.
5. Defend the perimeter
This is a Memphis team that’s known to feed the ball inside, but that shouldn’t cause the Raptors to sleep on their perimeter game. They’ve got some respectable shooters who can light it up from beyond the arc, and have been shooting the 3-ball pretty well during this 4-game win streak (42%).
Cage’s X-Factor: Rudy Gay
Tonight’s X-factor for the Toronto Raptors will be Rudy Gay. The stakes are fairly high for the Raptors’ forward tonight, and you know for a fact that Rudy wants to put on a show. This is the first time Gay takes on his former team, and it’ll be important for him, as well as the Raptors, if he has himself a great performance.