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Memphis has been one of the teams hit by COVID, having been forced to postpone five games. When Memphis got the green light to play again, it began by winning two in a row, but has since lost three straight. Former Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas returned from a five-game absence because of COVID-19 protocols and scored 23 points in 24 minutes in a loss to New Orleans Saturday night. “He really attacked it well and defensively did some good things,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said of JV. “Obviously, his minutes will continue to go up and up as he gets back and reconditions. He was really good for us.” Two of the 10 first-half threes made by Memphis came courtesy of Valanciunas, who scored 15 points in his first 11 minutes off the bench; Memphis scored only 18 fourth-quarter points in its 118-109 setback in the Big Easy.
DID YOU KNOW?
Canadian Brandon Clarke was scratched because of soreness in his right calf when Memphis played the Pels … Another Canadian, Dillon Brooks, missed all six of his three-point attempts in the loss, the third time this season Brooks has been unable to make one of his shots from distance; Brooks has averaged 2.1 trips to the foul line; he went to the line eight times in a Memphis win over the host Cavs on Jan. 11 … Norm Powell is coming off a 20-point game, his sixth in his past seven, a stretch that has seen the Raptors go 4-3 … Pascal Siakam has gone two straight games without turning the ball over; in his previous 20 games. Siakam averaged 2.4 turnovers.