Raptors vs Grizzlies Gameday Preview (Preseason)

Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

Yes, it's still preseason. But hey, at least the Raptors aren't playing the Celtics or Knicks!

The 5-1 Toronto Raptors will be looking to keep continue their strong preseason play when they host the Memphis Grizzlies tonight at the Air Canada Centre.

It would also be nice for this team to get a win against a team that isn't from Minnesota, Boston or New York.

DeMar DeRozan has been playing pretty well so far and it will be interesting to see if the improvements he's made hold true over a larger sample size. He's been shooting above 50% from the field and his range looks to have extended a bit closer to the three-point line. But the improvements have primarily been on the defensive end and  Eric Koreen of the National Post recently wrote an article pointing that out.  Speaking of defence, he'll come up against one of the game's most effective defensive stoppers tonight in Tony Allen.

Memphis aren't quite the ‘grit ‘n grind' team of last season that would shut teams out of games and wear them down with the dynamic duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Sure, they won't be amongst the league's top scorers this season but new coach Dave Joerger's offence isn't as anemic as some people might imagine. Jerryd Bayless, Mike Miller and Kosta Koufos are great options to have for a bench that would sometimes struggle to find complementary scoring once their reserves entered games.

This matchup should give a better indication of where the Raptors are too.  Instead of potential dregs like Minnesota and Boston (and who knows if the Knicks implode or not), Memphis should again be one of the league's elite teams.  Like most preseason games, caveats will abound and the benches of both clubs will likely get a lot of playing time, but even in a reserve battle, there should be some interesting takeaways. For instance, will a likely crunch-time lineup of Julyan Stone, Dwight Buycks, Terrence Ross, Chris Wright and Quincy Acy be able to get the job done against a fairly solid Memphis bench.  (Featuring Ed Davis!)

Also of intrigue, the matchup between Gasol and Jonas Valanciunas should be of interest to many and maybe Tyler Hansbrough can get into a bit of a scuffle with Quincy Pondexter and keep a straight face.

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