It was ugly, and multiple players got hurt, and the Toronto Raptors lost to the Memphis Grizzlies, but the good news is… well, the good news is that it’s over.
And that there are only four more games to go.
1. Yuta Hustle
After missing the Wizards game with a sore ankle, Yuta Watanabe was back and making an impact right away with his energy. Partway through the first he made a three-pointer, then made a sensational save on the baseline to knock the ball out of bounds off Kyle Anderson — and then drew a charge on Anderson the other way.
You love to see it, @wacchi1013 pic.twitter.com/uvrZUMeeFy— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 8, 2021
Gotta love the hustle. That’s gonna endear Yuta to Raptors him when finally he gets a chance to play in front of the Toronto crowd!
2. Freddie G Gettin’ Up
Freddie Gillespie doesn’t look like a particularly athletic guy; he looks like a guy whose value comes from his bulk. But he can get up! He surely caught the notice of the Grizzlies by swatting away a Brandon Clarke dunk in the first quarter.
New Fred showed his hops in the second quarter as well, laying in a putback off a DeAndre’ Bembry missed layup.
Gille hustlin' pic.twitter.com/2ncCVrSRPj— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 9, 2021
And just to show that he doesn’t have to do it all above the rim, a couple plays later, Gillespie drew a charge on Jaren Jackson Jr.
3. More Jalen Please
I’m really liking what I’m seeing from Jalen Harris! The kid can shoot, and he’s showing some craftiness with the ball as well.
That's tuff, @TheJalenHarris pic.twitter.com/ZiWV5DsoOd— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 9, 2021
He dropped in another sneaky reverse in the fourth too. I also have to say, Harris is bigger than I thought he was; I mean, maybe it’s the hair but he seems taller, with broader shoulders, than I initially realized.
Now, Harris did get himself in trouble a couple times, driving into the lane; he doesn’t have the handle or quickness yet to make his way through the real big players. But overall, I like his game.
Harris played 29.5 minutes last night, and I wanted more! Give the young man a start Nick!
4. Ugly Lineups, Ugly Results
With the Raptors missing three starters plus Chris Boucher, you had to figure you’d see some pretty curious lineups out there, with a lot of unproven players like Harris and Gillespie, plus, veterans of, ahem, questionable utility, like Stanley Johnson and Rodney Hood.
As such, what was a somewhat entertaining first half devolved into something far less enjoyable in the third, culminating in a sequence where the two teams combined for five turnovers in the final 50 seconds.
I guess that’s the sort of basketball we have to look forward to for the next week.
5. Gary Trent What
There are times that I think Gary Trent Jr. is a little bit shot-happy. Or maybe a lot! But then I remember he’s playing in bizarro lineups, often without much in the way of additional scoring threats, and I let it slide.
I feel pretty certain that, were to have a full season playing Kyle Lowry, he’ll find his role into offense and settle into becoming an effective scorer. And, yeah, you better believe I hope that we get a full season of them both next year! #BringKyleBack
Shoutout one time for Rodney Hood, who suffered a fractured finger early in the fourth quarter. Poor Hood has suffered one injury after another throughout his career, and although he only ends up with the Raptors as salary filler from the Norman Powell trade, it would’ve been nice to see him finish out the season healthy! Alas.