The Toronto Raptors look to win their second in a row Friday night (8 p.m. ET) as they face the Grizzlies in Memphis.
Toronto defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-91 in the Raptors’ home opener on Wednesday. Andrea Bargnani scored 28 points, outdoing the Cavs’ duo at centre of Shaquille O’Neal and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
The former first overall pick shot 11-for-15 from the field and looked to be in sync with his predominantly new teammates.
“I was always saying if Andrea gets going, if he’s scoring the basketball a lot, then we’re going to be tough to beat,” Raptors forward Chris Bosh said to NBA.com.
No less than six Raptors played their first game in a Toronto uniform on Wednesday.
One of the new Raptors is fellow Italian Marco Bellinelli, who put up 10 points on Wednesday. The six-foot-5 guard, acquired from the Golden State Warriors in the off-season, had his contract option exercised on Thursday by Toronto.
Bellinelli is part of a deeper bench for the Raptors this season.
Toronto’s defence looked stronger than it had been last season, holding Cleveland to a 35 per cent shooting percentage in Wednesday’s victory.
“That’s what we’ve been working on, that’s all we’ve been talking about, defence, defence, defence,” Bosh said.
It will be the first chance for the full roster to travel together on the road as they face a young Memphis (0-1) squad that may once again be without their answer.
Iverson questionable for Friday night
Allen Iverson, signed in the off-season by the Grizzlies, is nursing a hamstring injury and did not play in his team’s 96-74 season-opening loss to the Detroit Pistons. He is questionable for Friday’s tilt.
The 2000-01 league MVP spent last season with the Denver Nuggets and Detroit before choosing to come to a team that finished 12th in the Western Conference in 2008-09 with a 24-58 record.
Memphis has a youthful team, with 11 players aged 24 or younger.
Thabeet, the 2nd overall pick from the 2009 Entry Draft, saw just over 12 minutes of action, pulling in a pair of rebounds and two fouls. Young, a six-foot-six product from Pittsburgh, struggled at times, turning over the ball thrice in nine minutes of work.
Toronto and Memphis split their season series last year. The Raptors were victorious at home in January with a 103-82 decision, and the Grizzlies returned the favour a month later, winning 78-70.
Following the game, the Raptors will return back home to face Vince Carter’s new team, the Orlando Magic, on Sunday. Memphis follows Friday’s contest with a five-game western road trip.