Here are two teams heading in two different directions. Not so long ago, the Memphis Grizzlies had Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and a super-duper strong sense of identity. They were probably not going to win the title, but they could (and, quite frequently, did) give any and all teams hell.
The Raptors, meanwhile, were either not in the playoffs (2013 feels like only yesterday sometimes) or just barely squeaking through, with a run of identity crises rivalled only by those generated at DC Comics. It was a time.
But today, ah yes, today, the situation is quite different. The Raptors are maybe still trying to figure out what exactly they have — who to play, how to play them, etc. — and their ultimate ceiling remains something of a mystery, but they’re at least moving in the right direction: upward. They’ve won four in a row, they’re one of the more solid teams in the conference, and they have two star players in DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry playing at the peak of their powers. It’s true.
The Grizzlies, on the other hand, are falling apart. They fired their lovable, meme-able coach Dave Fizdale, their ownership group is going through some kind of revolt, and the two players most tied to that Grit n’ Grind era — Mike Conley and Marc Gasol — are in various states of disrepair. For the record, Conley is injured (again), and Gasol is... what? Unhappy? Soon-to-be traded? Guiding a sinking ship? The Grizzlies are 1-9 in their last ten games — it’s a troubled situation (is my point).
But worry not Memphis, you’ve got — [checks paper, squints] — Tyreke Evans to look forward to. Godspeed.
Now let’s settle in for Raptors-Grizzlies and get going.
Where to Watch:
TSN 8:00 p.m.
Toronto - Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas
Memphis - Tyreke Evans, Ben McLemore, Dillon Brooks, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
Toronto - Delon Wright (sad face), Lucas Noguiera (sadder face)
Memphis - Mike Conley (definitely out), Brandan Wright (probably out), Wayne Selden (definitely out), Tyreke Evans (probably not out; I imagine he’ll play)