MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As the regular season is winding down, the Grizzlies know every game matters if they want a seat at the table for the play-in games to get into the playoffs.
That must’ve been on their minds, as the Toronto Raptors made things interesting late in the fourth quarter. But De’Anthony Melton wouldn’t allow their victory to slip away, as he dominated the Raps and helped lead the Grizzlies to a 109-99 victory over Toronto.
After starting out slow in the first half, the Grizzlies’ offense really started to heat up in the third quarter, outscoring the Raptors 34-26. Toronto didn’t give up in the fourth when they managed to cut the Grizzlies 9-point lead to one.
That is when De’Anthony Melton, who hadn’t scored any points thus far, started to heat up and dropped 15 points on the Raptors, by knocking down five, threes.
“By time the fourth came around, we noticed what they were doing,” Melton said. “I feel like everybody did a great job moving the ball around and getting the easiest shot possible.”
Melton told reporters after the game, he’s always been the type of player to step up when the team needs him. That’s exactly what he did when Toronto started chipping away at the Grizzlies’ lead.
Saturday’s matchup against Toronto was also the first time Jaren Jackson Jr., returned to the starting line-up. Jackson scored 20 points in 26 minutes of playing time and shot 41% from the field.
Jackson was cold from behind the arc as he only connected 3 of his 10, 3-point attempts. At the same time, he was perfect at the charity stripe and had 4 boards, 2 assists, and 3 steals to finish the night. Not to mention, he led all Grizzlies’ scorers.
Jackson said in the post game interview he is proud at how his team came away with a victory against Toronto.
“This is Grizz basketball at it’s finest. Just everybody coming together, we always know the game plan and we executed it. It was great everybody down the stretch,” Jackson said.
It is worth mentioning, all of the Grizzlies starters were in double-figures against the Raptors. Jonas Valanciunas got a double-double against his former team, finishing with 18 points, 21 rebounds, and 4 blocks on the night.
Now, the Grizzlies will head back to Memphis and will have a four-game home stand in five days. The Grizzlies are currently 1/2 game behind the Golden State Warriors, who are the 8th seed, after thrashing the Oklahoma City Thunder.