Marc Gasol capped a key third-quarter run with a 3-pointer in his first game against his longtime employer and the Toronto Raptors clinched the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 108-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday near Orlando.
Gasol was dealt from Memphis to Toronto last February and was a member of the Raptors’ championship team in 2019. He contributed 10 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes to lift the Raptors to a fourth win in five games since the restart.
The 35-year-old Spaniard left the Grizzlies as their all-time leader in rebounds (5,942) and blocks (1,135), and second to Mike Conley in points (11,684) in 10 1/2 seasons.
One of the three men for whom Gasol was traded, Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas, went scoreless in 27 minutes in the loss. He did manage a team-high 10 rebounds, however.
The loss was a costly one for Memphis (33-38), which began the day in eighth place in the West but is locked into a tight battle with Portland, Phoenix, San Antonio and New Orleans. The loss prevented the Grizzlies from clinching a spot in the play-in game for the No. 8 seed.
The Grizzlies led by as many as eight points early on, but Toronto (50-19) forged into the lead by halftime. The Raptors were up 62-57 before a 15-5 run mushroomed the advantage with 5:57 remaining in the third quarter.
Gasol’s 3-pointer that completed the burst was banked in.
Toronto went on to lead by as many as 17, but Memphis made a late comeback, getting within 95-92 on a jumper from Dillon Brooks with 3:33 to play.
However, the Raptors received a pair of 3-pointers by Pascal Siakam down the stretch to hold on.
Siakam finished with 26 points to lead all scorers. Norman Powell (16 points), Kyle Lowry (15), Fred VanVleet (14) and Serge Ibaka (12) also scored in double figures for Toronto, which out-shot Memphis 47.9 percent to 40.7.
Ibaka was the game’s leading rebounder with 12 off the bench, while Lowry complemented his 15 points with a team-high eight assists, seven rebounds and four steals.
Brooks paced the Grizzlies with 25 points, followed by Grayson Allen with 20, Ja Morant 17 and Brandon Clarke’s 16.
Morant also found time for a game-high 10 assists.
–Field Level Media