Earlier in the week, DeMar DeRozan was the outspoken Toronto Raptor, taking his frustrations public after coach Dwane Casey benched him for the fourth quarter in a game against the Houston Rockets.
Friday night at the Air Canada Centre, DeRozan was mostly quiet, rarely involved in the offensive flow as the Memphis Grizzlies (21-15) withstood a spirited effort by the Raptors (11-25) to record a 102-99 National Basketball Association victory at the Air Canada Centre.
It was a tough, engaging contest that featured a frenzied finish with six lead changes over the final two minutes of play and left Casey happy with most aspects of the game, except for the outcome.
"There was a lot of positives, more positives than negatives apart from not coming way with the W," Casey said.
Rudy Gay calmly drained a 19-foot jumper with 26.3 second left that moved Memphis in front 100-99.
On Toronto's next possession, Toronto's Linas Kleiza missed from 17 feet and the ball wound up in the hands of Tony Allen, who somehow got a driving layup to fall while being fouled.
Allen missed his free throw to keep the score to 102-99 and give Toronto one final chance.
It didn't work out at Jose Calderon got a good look on a three-pointer from the top of the key but it just missed to preserve the Memphis victory.
DeRozan, the Raptors leading scoring in the absence of the injured Andrea Bargnani, was seldom involved involved in the offence as the Raptors found success slamming the ball inside, recording 44 points in the paint.
DeRozan, who was blanketed most of the night by the unrelenting presence of Allen, would finish with just four points off 2-for-8 shooting.
"He had one of the toughest defenders on him," Casey said in defence of DeRozan. "They were keying on him. They weren't about to let him get going."
The Grizzlies were able to prevail with a much more balanced offensive attack, led by Gay, who led his team with 23 points and 12 rebounds.
Jerryd Bayless led the Raptors with 18 points.
The game marked the first of a four-game home stand for the Raptors, who will next play the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
It was also Toronto's first home game since DeRozan's now infamous mis-tweet, venting his displeasure following Tuesday's loss in Houston after sitting the entire fourth quarter despite having scored 17 points.
Not playing attention to defensive details will land you that kind of punishment from Casey.
"Straight bull," the forward tweeted before realizing he might have acted a bit rash, quickly withdrawing his remark.
But it was too late. His frustration was forever etched into the unforgiving cyberspace memory banks.
DeRozan later tried to explain that his remarks had more to do with the Raptors losing another game than anything else, but that sounded like a stretch.
If DeRozan is feeling picked on, it hasn't affected his play, which has picked up of late.
After a slow start to the season, the 22-year-old has started to play with some offensive flair that the Raptors have sorely lacked during the extended absence of Bargnani.
Heading into Friday's game, DeRozan has tied or led the Raptors in scoring the last five outings, averaging 22.8 points while shooting at a torrid .53 per cent clip.
"I think he's more relaxed and getting in a better rhythm, getting used to being played, getting scouted for," came the explanation by Casey before the game regarding DeRozan's resurgence. "I think he caught the league a little bit by surprise last year by scoring a lot of points.
"Plus, with the fact that Andrea's out, he's the Queen Bee and being focused on. He's just now getting used to that."
The Raptors had a good start to Friday's game that Casey craved - at one point leading 13-4 after a nimble reverse layup by Aaron Gray.
But the Grizzlies were just warming up, with Gay pounding back a powerful dunk followed up by a tap-in by Dante Cunningham that allowed Memphis to escape the quarter with a 23-21 lead.
Bayless led the Toronto attack in a strong second quarter for the Raptors, scoring 10 points as the Raptors regained a 52-45 lead lead by the half.Report Typo/Error
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