February 23rd, 2024

Jaren Jackson Jr. leads hurting Grizzlies past Raptors 108-100

By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press on January 22, 2024.

Toronto Raptors forward Bruce Brown (11) fouls Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto Monday Jan. 22, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO – Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 27 points to lead the injury-depleted Memphis Grizzlies past the Toronto Raptors108-100 on Monday.

Luke Kennard added 19 points for Memphis (16-27), which had three fewer players on its bench than the Raptors.

The Grizzlies lost yet another player early in the fourth quarter when starting forward Santi Aldama went down with an injured right knee.

Scottie Barnes had a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds as Toronto (16-28) dropped its third game in a row. He also had eight assists in the 18th double-double of his season.

RJ Barrett of Mississauga, Ont., added 29 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors.

Memphis was missing seven players due to injury before the game, including all-star point guard Ja Morant, who has been out since Jan. 8 with season-ending shoulder surgery.

The Grizzles were also without points guards Derrick Rose (thigh) and Marcus Smart (right ring finger). Forward Jake LaRavia (high ankle sprain), power forward Brandon Clarke (Achilles), centre Steven Adams (knee) and shooting guard Desmond Bane (left ankle sprain) were also unavailable.

Barrett had a one-handed dunk with 5:10 left in the first to pull Toronto to within three points and earn a round of cheers from the 18,577 at Scotiabank Arena. That was about as close as the Raptors would come in the quarter, with Memphis building a 30-25 lead.

A turnaround jump shot by Barnes 2:35 into the second capped a 7-2 run to start the quarter and tied the game 32-32. Memphis called a timeout after Barnes’s field goal and reeled off an 8-0 run after that.

Reserve guard Bruce Brown finished off the half with a breakout layup, fed by Barrett, to the delight of the Raptors faithful but Toronto still trailed 53-46 at intermission.

Although Barnes scored 10 points in the third quarter and pulled down six rebounds, the Raptors continued to fall behind. Kennard had eight of his points in the period as Memphis expanded its lead to 85-71.

Barrett had a short field goal with 41.1 seconds left in the game to pull Toronto to within eight, the closest the Raptors had been since early in the third quarter Jackson scored nine of his points in the final period to keep Memphis’s lead safe.

POELTL IMPROVEMENT – There is still no timetable for centre Jakob Poeltl’s return to Toronto’s lineup after being out for two weeks with an ankle injury. Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic said before Monday’s game that Poeltl is progressing well.

“He has started to work on the court,” said Rajakovic. “He’s according to plan progressing with the loads and what he’s allowed to do.

“We are hoping to see him playing very, very soon.”

UP NEXT – Toronto hosts the Los Angeles Clippers (27-14) on Friday.

Memphis visits the Miami Heat (24-19) on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2024.

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