It was Spanish Night at the Air Canada Centre last night, but it was an Argentine who sparked the Raptors to 103-91 victory over the toothless Memphis Grizzlies.
Carlos Delfino was not the game's high scorer, but his play off the bench in the second quarter was certainly the difference.
Delfino scored all 14 of his points in the second quarter -- going 6-for-6 from the floor, including a pair of threes -- while adding five rebounds.
The Raptors trailed by two at the end of the first quarter. But as a result of Delfino's spark, they outgunned Memphis 30-10 in the quarter to take an insurmountable 57-39 lead at the half. Appropriately, he finished the first half by nailing a three-pointer just before the shot clock expired.
Delfino did not play as much in the second half after picking up his fourth foul early in the third quarter. But he is finally finding his stride with the Raps after an inconsistent season start.
"When you know your role, you feel better and better," said Delfino, who had a limited job description the previous three seasons with the Detroit Pistons. "Now I know what I have to do."
What he did last night was give his team a spark when it was most needed.
His contributions were especially valuable as all-star power forward Chris Bosh had to leave the game after aggravating a right groin strain at 9:44 of the second quarter and Toronto up 33-31.
Bosh had gotten off to a solid start, recording 10 points (on 5-for-6 shooting). He said he hurt his groin in practice on Tuesday, but is hopeful that he will be able to play against the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow night at the ACC.
"It was a little painful making certain cuts out there, so I decided to take it easy," said Bosh, who had played extremely well the previous four games, averaging 27.5 points and 12 rebounds.
The Raps also had to do without Andrea Bargnani for the final 10 minutes when the second-year centre sustained a right knee contusion after colliding with Grizzlies' Stromile Smith.
"It's better now than when I was coming off the court, so we'll see tomorrow," Bargnani said.
Point guard Jose Calderon, starting in place of the injured T.J. Ford, recorded his second consecutive double-double, picking up 13 points and 10 assists in 34 minutes. He also had five boards and coughed up only his second turnover in three games.
The Raptors shot 51% from the field and actually out-rebounded an opponent, pulling in 46 boards to the Grizzlies' 38. They shared the ball well, picking up 28 assists, and played with aggression, drawing 24 fouls.
Starting shooting guard Anthony Parker finished with a game-high 19 points as seven Raptors scored in double figures.
Jamario Moon, meanwhile, continued his strong play, recording six points and eight rebounds and brought the ACC faithful to its feet with a driving, reverse dunk to put Toronto up 70-49 in the third.
Starting centre Rasho Nesterovic made a splash in his return, after missing six games with a sprained ankle, scoring 10 points.