Toronto Raptors

Precious Achiuwa and Gary Trent Jr. explode in second half to lead Raptors to road win in Memphis

This Raptors team continues to fight.

Trailing by double-digits for most of the first-half and looking completely disjointed on the defensive end, it was a spirited second half that sparked a big win in Memphis.

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Precious Achiuwa and Gary Trent Jr. led the rally, with the 126-113 win improving the Raptors to 9-10 on the season.

Here are some thoughts from the impressive performance.

1. Raptors fortunate to stay in the game at halftime

Trailing by 12 points at the half, it felt like it could have been so much worse for Toronto.

The Grizzlies shot 60 percent from the field, outrebounded the Raptors 26-11 and scored 42 points in the paint to 30.

The fact it was still a contest was largely due to the offensive contributions of Scottie Barnes with 15 points on 7-for-12 shooting and Fred VanVleet with 12 points on 6-for-9.

"We talked about what we needed to do," Achiuwa said postgame. "We understood we were losing on the defensive side, especially on the rebounds. We got in there, we kept it one hundred with each other."

Aside from the troublesome defence, the Raptors needed someone else to step up, which leads us to....

2. Achiuwa notches season-high point total

In the third quarter alone.

That's right. Precious went bonkers in the third period, tallying 17 points in the quarter as the Raptors stormed back into the game.

It was everything the athletic big man has promised in small doses coming all at once. A force in transition and on the glass during the quarter, Achiuwa was unstoppable.

Of course, being one of those runs where everything worked, he also found the mark from the outside. At 4-for-17 from long range on the season coming in, Achiuwa connected on both of his attempts in the third.

"Just coming out, staying focused, staying aggressive. Letting the game come to me, taking the shots that are comfortable and attacking the basket of course," he said of the outburst.

The only blemish on a brilliant 12 minutes was an untimely foul with 0.3 seconds left in the quarter that sent Brandon Clarke to the line.

Clarke would miss one, with the Achiuwa-led charge leaving Toronto down 92-91 entering the fourth.

3. Trent Jr. takes his turn

Gary Trent Jr. watched Achiuwa in the third and decided it was his turn to take over in the fourth.

Dropping 17 of his own in the final period, Trent took over the game, as the Raptors surged ahead after trailing since the opening minutes.

"We have a lot of talent. We have guys that can score the ball, guys that can score and defend," Achiuwa said of the two-pronged takeover in the second half. "We have a lot of two-way players and anybody can get it going at any point in the game."

Trent led all scorers on the night with 26 points, including a 4-for-7 mark from beyond the arc.

Remember when I mentioned Barnes and VanVleet needed some help?

After combining for 27 in the first-half, the duo contributed just 13 in the final two periods but it didn't matter, they found the help they needed.

All five Toronto starters finished in double-digits, with Pascal Siakam adding 17 of his own.

4. Barnes nails one from half-court

Trailing by double-digits in the back end of the first period, Scottie Barnes provided a nice highlight to end the quarter.

Too often we see players trying to protect their 3-point percentage and refusing to throw up a halfcourt heave. Not Scottie.

Barnes hit nothing but net from just beyond the halfway line to close the gap to 32-25.

5. Scary moment for Morant

Late in the second quarter, Desmond Bane flipped a lob to the high-flying Morant.

Gary Trent Jr. nudged Morant while he was in mid-flight, sending the Grizzlies guard to a very hard fall. Trent made initial contact and quickly tried to withdraw his hands but the contact had already been made.

A flagrant one was assessed on the play, and thankfully Morant was able to stay on the floor.

It's clear Trent wasn't intentionally trying to hurt Morant, but it's an example of how easy it is for a potential injury to occur when contact is made to a player in flight.

6. The Undertaker takes down a turkey

I can't say I follow the current day WWE, but sign me up for any references from the WWF era.

Any time I hear a gong, whatever I am doing, I assume The Undertaker is about to emerge from the darkness to tombstone me into oblivion.

During a timeout the Grizzlies mascot entered the building to the music of The Undertaker, taking down his victim....a turkey.

Honestly great stuff by the Memphis in-arena entertainment group.

7. Yuta says no!

Nick Nurse was in a grumpy mood with the officials all night, so when Yuta Watanabe was called for a foul on this incredible block, Nurse's head nearly exploded.

Nurse would challenge, with the initial call being reversed, leaving us with this awesome highlight!

8. What's next?

The road trip continues for the Raps, as they now head to Indiana to face the Pacers on Friday night.

Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. ET. We'll catch you then!

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