Memphis Grizzlies vs. Toronto Raptors Wednesday NBA Preview & Free Pick

Grizzlies vs Raptors NBA Handicapping

For the last decade or so the Toronto Raptors have served one useful purpose – they prevent the really good teams from getting bored by having to play only each other all the time.

Memphis Grizzlies (34-18) at Toronto Raptors (22-32)
Wednesday, Feb. 20
Air Canada Center, Toronto
7 p.m. EST
Spread – Raptors -1.5 at Bovada
O/U – 186.5

Matchup | Preview

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The Raptors had a decent run in the late 1990s shortly after their creation in 1995, but when Vince Carter left it ushered in a long period of mediocrity that has lasted to this day.

But long-suffering Raptor fans are sensing hope these days. Toronto actually has a decent five-game winning streak as it preps for tonight’s game at home against the Grizzlies, and the run hasn’t exactly been built with playing cards.

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Things started with an improbable overtime win in Indiana, where the Pacers rarely lose. Four nights later they held serve at home against a terrific Denver team, and on the night before Valentine’s Day they went into New York and stiffed the Knicks. Coach Dwayne Casey hopes that the All-Star break hasn’t sapped the momentum that the Raptors have been able to accumulate.

The Raptors’ rise has coincided with the arrival of high-flying forward Rudy Gay, who goes up against his old team tonight. Gay took no time in becoming Toronto’s No. 1 offense option. He’s averaging 21 points a game, and the Raptors seem unconcerned that he is shooting under 40 percent from the field.

The Raptors are also getting quality play from guard DeMar DeRozan, who scored more than 20 points four times in the five-game win streak. At 6-foot-7 DeRozen presents all sorts of matchup problem for two-guards. [ad-6571516]

Memphis, meanwhile, seems to be enjoying the best of both worlds even without Gay in the lineup. The Grizz have improved their perimeter defense with the addition of Tayshaun Price (who came over in the three-team Gay deal), and the offense doesn’t appear to have suffered. Memphis has a nice little four-game winning streak of its own as it starts the back end of the schedule that includes a ton of road games.

And management can smile because it off-loaded Gay’s big salary, which was the primary reason for the trade in the first place.


Tough matchup here for the Raptors. Andrea Bargnani is back, but he never has shown much interest in banging. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph control things down low, and Bargnani (3.9 rebounds a game) simply can’t become something that he is not.

That, combined with Gay’s desire to score a ton of points and show the Grizz what they gave away, give this one enough ingredients for an OVER play – especially since the Raptors score well at home and the Grizz often hit triple digits on the road against non-elite competition.

By Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!