Saturday , January 28 2023

About Last Night: Road Raptors on target


The Toronto Raptors continue to shine on the road. Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard and company took their A-game to "The Grind House" in Memphis and used 3-point shooting in the fourth quarter to capture a 122-114 victory over the Grizzlies. It was Toronto's sixth straight win, improving their league-leading record to 18-4.

The Raptors moved to an NBA-best 9-2 on the road. They drained seven 3-pointers on 12 attempts in the fourth, and were 18 of 33 (54 percent) from beyond the arc for the game. That will win most of the time, especially when you hold the opposition to 10 of 29 (34.5 percent).

Five different Raptors – OG Anunoby, Delon Wright, Lowry, Leonard and Fred VanVleet – made 3s down the stretch, with VanVleet nailing three.

The Raptors make seven 3-quarters in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Grizzlies.

VanVleet sparked the Raptors with a perfect shooting night from the floor, sinking all six of their shots. He was 3 of 4 from the free throw line, finishing with 18 points. He's averaging 9.4 points per game.

The win showcased the Raptors' bench strength, another reason Toronto is looking like the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. The reserves scored 41 points for the Raptors.

Here is VanVleet's pristine shot chart:

Toronto's win overshadowed a solid night by Grizzlies center, Marc Gasol, who finished with 27 points. For the Raptors, Lowry led with 24 points and Leonard added 17 points with 10 rebounds.

Marc Gasol was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc on the way to 27 points.

Nuggets on a roll

Any win in the NBA is sweet, but the Denver Nuggets especially savored their 117-85 break over the Lakers. It was the biggest margin of victory ever for the Nuggets over the Lakers, eclipsing a 29-point win in 1993.

Paul Millsap, Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley scored 20 points each in Denver's balanced attack, and the Nuggets' defensive pressure had the Lakers struggling to find a shooting rhythm.

"They're a tough team at home, of course," said LeBron James, who was held to a season-low 14 points with seven rebounds and two assists.

Kyle Kuzma scored a game-high 21 points for the Lakers, who missed 30 of 35 shots from 3-point range.

The Nuggets used a balanced attack and stingy defense to steal the Lakers.

Move of the night

Darren Collison of the Pacers put a crossover move on Suns rookie Deandre Ayton that the big man will not soon forget.

Darren Collison drops Deandre Ayton in the paint.

Mythical dunkster

It says something about the Hawks when what happens in player warm-ups gets about much attention as a game. But, hey, it's 41-year-old Vince Carter – one of the most dynamic dunkers ever!

Sight unseen

Then there's this under-the-rim action in the game with the Heat, which the Hawks held on to win 115-113. Hawks guard Jeremy Lin, receiving a pass from Alex Len and driving and appearing to attack the rim, no-look fairs, over-the-shoulder pass back to center Len for the easy bucket.

Jeremy Lin with the nifty assist in the first quarter.

Dwyane Wade scored 18 off the bench for the Heat, but deferred to Josh Richardson in the final seconds on the game-winning attempt. Richardson, who finished with 22 points. received the pass from Wade and let fly to 3-point attempt that came up short.

Worth noting

Blake Griffin poured in 30 points to lead the Pistons to 115-108 win over the Knicks. It was surging Detroit's fourth win in a row.

Blake Griffin spurred the Pistons with 30 points and five assists.


Willie Naulls, a four-time All-Star with the Knicks and three-time champion with the Celtics, passed away during the weekend at age 84. Naulls broke ground on and off the court in the late 50s and early 60s. His Knicks teammates named him a team captain, the first black athlete with such an honor for any major professional sports team.

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