GRIZ BLOW ONE LATE
Alvin Williams gave the Toronto Raptors the lead, then made sure they never let it go.
Williams had a layup, two free throws and a key rebound in the final 38 seconds, lifting the Raptors to a 92-87 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies at The Pyramid.
Vince Carter scored 27 points for Toronto, which led for less than a minute over the final three quarters but nevertheless improved to 2-0 on their four-game road trip.
"It was real big for us to pull it out," Williams said. "We just really dug down in the fourth quarter, even when they were making runs. We did a good job of keeping our composure and making plays at the end."
Williams finished with 20 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. He had a breakaway layup during an 8-0 spurt that pulled the Raptors within a point with 3:40 remaining, then took charge in the last minute.
The 6-4 guard went all the way for a layup and an 88-87 lead with 38 seconds to play.
"Alvin has always been that Energizer Bunny for us," Raptors center Antonio Davis said. "I really feel that if we kick the ball to him, he'll make something happen. Luckily, this time he got the ball when he was a little bit ahead of the pack. And when it comes to chasing somebody down, I don't think nobody in this league can chase that guy down."
Davis blocked a sweeping drive by Pau Gasol, leading to two free throws by Williams with 15 seconds remaining.
"(The block) was everything, everything we had fought for to get to that point," Williams said. "If they would've scored, the game would've been over. But he made that big block."
The Grizzlies had a chance to tie, but Wesley Person missed a three-pointer from the right corner. The long rebound went to Williams, who lobbed a pass to Carter for a breakaway dunk that sealed the win.
"They (Raptors) made all the big plays and that's what you've got to have," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens said. "I told them, 'If we don't quit, we'll make good things happen.'"
Davis had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who have won consecutive games for just the second time this season. They have taken five of the last six meetings with the Grizzlies.
Shane Battier scored 14 points for Memphis, which had won two in a row following a season-opening 13-game losing streak.
"Today was just one of those days when the energy is there and then it's not," said Memphis coach Hubie Brown, who fell to 2-6 since replacing Sidney Lowe. "From three minutes left in the fourth quarter, we didn't get the job done."
A basket and free throw by Stromile Swift gave Memphis its largest lead at 83-74 with 5:42 to play. But Carter returned and made a floater in the lane, starting an 8-0 surge.
Michael Bradley had a follow shot and Williams had a layup before Davis sank two free throws to cut it to 83-82 with 3:40 left. Carter answered Battier's follow dunk with two foul shots, and Davis answered Gasol's hook with a tough reverse layup to make it 87-86 at the 2:24 mark.
Morris Peterson scored 10 points and Bradley added eight and nine rebounds for Toronto, which shot 44 percent (38-of-86) from the field.
"Michael Bradley did a very good job for them off the bench in offensive rebounding," Brown said.
Gasol had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Jason Williams scored 10 points for Memphis, which shot 42 percent (36-of-85). Rookie Drew Gooden scored nine points on 9-of-17 shooting.
Swift's driving layup opened the second quarter, gave the Grizzlies a 20-19 lead and started a 10-0 surge. Memphis held a 46-37 halftime lead, but Peterson scored six points in a 9-2 run that began the third quarter.
"It was a very unorthodox half, both ways - a lot of stoppages in the game and there just wasn't really any continuity," Carter said.
A basket by Jermaine Jackson gave the Raptors a 62-61 lead with 2:24 left, but the Grizzlies scored 21 seconds later and took a 67-64 edge into the final period.