MEMPHIS, Tenn.—Marc Gasol scored a career-best 42 points—and the Memphis Grizzlies needed every last one of them.
Gasol's night was capped by the deciding two free throws with 36 seconds left as the Grizzlies handed Toronto its fifth-straight loss with a 101-99 victory last night.
Gasol's final free throws ended a 12-0 run by the Raptors that tied the game at 99.
Kyle Lowry's fadeaway 28-footer from the left wing bounced off the rim as time expired, saving Memphis from wasting Gasol's effort.
“The ball went in early and the rim got a little bigger," noted the 7'1” centre from Spain.
“And I just kept shooting.”
The performance started with Gasol collecting Memphis' first 16 points. Then he closed out the scoring with the deciding free throws.
“I think we all saw it right from the beginning—he had a goal in mind that he was not going to go down watching,” Grizzlies' coach David Fizdale said.
Zach Randolph finished with 16 points for Memphis while Tony Allen had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Gasol converted 14-of-25 shots, including going 5-of-10 from three-point range.
“It's so much fun to watch and be a part of,” said guard Mike Conley, who had 11 points.
“Tonight was something special," he added. "It got to the point where everybody was just trying to get him [Gasol] the ball.”
Lowry led the Raptors with 29 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter to spark Toronto's final charge—erasing a 12-point Memphis lead.
Norman Powell had 21 points while Cory Joseph finished with 15.
“I love our competitive spirit down the stretch,” said Raptors' coach Dwane Casey.
“[But] we've got to do it earlier in the game," he stressed. "We've got to come out and put our foot down.”
With the Memphis lead at 12 (matching its largest of the game), the Raptors rallied behind Lowry—scoring 12-straight.
He had 10 of those points, including a four-point play.
The Toronto rally tied the game at 99-99 with 1:31 to go. But Gasol's final free throws meant the difference.
“We locked in during the fourth quarter, but I think we have to come out with that sense of urgency from the rip,” Lowry conceded.
The Raptors suffered their first five-game losing streak since Feb. 21-28, 2015.
Starting guard DeMar DeRozan missed his second game with a sprained right ankle suffered in fourth quarter Sunday against the Phoenix Suns.
Vince Carter, the oldest active player in the NBA, turns 40 today.
Carter, who spent his first six years in the NBA in Toronto, also has had stops with the Nets in New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, and Dallas before arriving with the Grizzlies in 2014.
The crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Carter in the break between the first and second quarters—leading to a smile and a wave from the reserve forward.
The Raptors returns home tomorrow to face the Milwaukee Bucks in the first of a three-game homestand.