The High 5 is where I give my reaction to the night’s games. This includes a look at the players who made a difference in the outcome, some additional notes and unique details that caught my attention.
The Thumb (Feel of the Game)
The Memphis Grizzlies came into Toronto on a cold January night looking to sneak out a win against the Raptors. The Grizzlies started the game by slowing the pace down to a crawl, trying to regain some of the grit ‘n’ grind persona that made them such a threat in the Western Conference for so many years. However, this Memphis team is in full rebuild mode and the talent of the Raptors simply overwhelmed them. The Raptors were led by their defense and a scorching hot Danny Green to cruise to an easy win.
Toronto 119 Memphis 90.
The Index (The Leader)
Considering Toronto’s hot shooting, Serge Ibaka’s contributions may be overlooked tonight. Serge has become a calming presence in the front court and made good decisions when given the ball. Ibaka used his experience and strength to bully the young Memphis forwards while his mid-range jumper continues to be a thing of beauty. Serge shot an efficient 9/13 from the field for 18 points to go with 5 rebounds and 1 block.
The Middle (The Enemy)
Despite the blowout, Memphis rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. had a pretty decent game. He finished with 16 points on 6/11 shooting to go with 8 rebounds and an assist. In a few years, and with some added talent, he may solidify the centre spot for Memphis but for now, Jaren still has some big shoes to fill as Marc Gasol’s heir apparent.
The Ring (The X Factor)
CJ Miles shifted the momentum of the game with a trio of threes that helped Toronto gain separation in the second quarter. No one showed more emotion than Miles when his threes finally started to drop. What I liked most about CJ’s play was his attention to defense. On more than one occasion he had his hand in passing lanes, deflected loose ball and forced steals which ignited Toronto’s transition offense. CJ’s energy and enthusiasm netted him 13 points to go with a career high 5 steals.
The Pinky (The Unsung Hero)
I was worried that Pascal Siakam’s production would fall once teams learned how to take away his spin move. To his credit, Siakam has evolved his half court offense. He is learning to time his cuts and is showing the early signs of a post game. Pascal used his foot work and length to get around defenders for easy layups and his blinding speed to get free in the open floor. Siakam finished tonight with 17 points on 7/12 from the field while adding 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
Player of the Game
Danny Green showed his class by putting on a shooting clinic in the third quarter. Green went supernova and exploded with a flurry of three pointers to obliterate the Grizzlies. Somehow, Danny was able to find himself open from beyond the arc again and again and each time he made Memphis pay. Green was absolutely money tonight finishing 8/12 from deep (8/13 overall) for 24 points to go with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. Fantastic night for the Green Ranger.
- Champion in the house – Former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jack Morris was at the game tonight. Shout outs to one of the all-time greats!
- Nice Genes- Seeing Justin Holiday on the floor tonight reminded me that he has two brothers in the league. Jrue in New Orleans and Aaron in Indiana.
- Return of the Stack – Tonight marks the return of former Raptors905 head coach, and one of my favourites, Jerry Stackhouse. Considering his resume, don’t be surprised to see him as a head coach in the NBA very soon.
- Gimmie dat – The Raptors played great team defense tonight stealing the ball 19 times and swatting away 10 shots.
- Identity Theft – Justin Holiday started for the Grizzlies but the Sportsnet crew, in error, put Kyle Anderson’s face in the opening lineup graphics in his place. Kyle Anderson is out with an ankle injury for the next 4 weeks. Oops.
Toronto will have a couple days off to heal up before welcoming the young Sacramento Kings into town on Tuesday night.