The Phoenix Suns are not having any more success at home than they are on the road, as the Toronto Raptors came into US Airways Center and defeated the Suns 99-96 behind emerging star Andrea Bargnani’s season-high 36 points. This was Bargnani’s first game back after being out for six games due to a left calf strain.
The Suns were running on all cylinders in the first quarter, and took a 27-17 lead. It was a team effort, as eight Suns scored in the first, led by eight points from Marcin Gortat. Gortat would finish the night with a team high 21 points and 12 rebounds, for his ninth straight double-double. The team shot 55.6 percent from the field, and held the Raptors to 36.4 percent shooting in the first quarter.
The Suns extended their lead to 35-21 when Sebastian Telfair scored four consecutive points early in the second period, but then ex-Sun Leandro Barbosa got the hot hand. He scored 11 points in less than two minutes, hitting three three-pointers in a row, to close the Raptors to within seven. Barbosa would end the game with 19. Hakim Warrick showed his scoring prowess by scoring six straight points for the Suns in just over a minute to extend the lead back to 13. The lead didn’t last long, as the Raptors James Johnson, who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, scored the final six points in the half, and the Suns lead dwindled to 52-48.
Andrea Bargnani came out in the third quarter and almost single-handedly beat the Suns. He was unstoppable, as he went on to score 18 points on six of nine shooting, including four of five from three. With the score tied at 69, the Raptors went on a 10-0 run before Hakim Warrick scored the final basket of the third. Warrick, who ended the game with 17 points, has been a forgotten player at times this season, and had not played a single minute in the previous two games. After scoring 27 in the first quarter, the Suns could only muster 19 in the third, and trailed by eight going into the fourth.
The Raptors scored the first two baskets of the fourth, giving them their biggest lead of the game at 12, but the Suns battled back. With the score 94-87, the Suns went on a 7-2 run that started with a Jared Dudley three, and ended with Dudley’s first dunk of the season off a steal. The Raptors held on for the win by sinking three of their last four free throws, giving them their first win over the Suns in eight years.
It was a tale of two halves, as the Suns shot 52.8 percent in the first half, and made 12 of 15 from the stripe. They out-rebounded the Raptors 19-18, outscored the Raptors 24-18 in the paint, and led 52-48. In the second half, the Raptors were 15 of 17 from the stripe, while the Suns were just 1 for 2. The Suns were outrebounded 28-21, and gave up nine second chance points while scoring five. The Raptors ended up scoring 51 while the Suns could only generate 44.
Steve Nash finished with another double-double, scoring 17 and handing out 14 assists. Robin Lopez showed his frustration over this season by getting ejected from the game with 8:14 left before the half. Overall, the Suns shot 31.3 percent from three while the Raptors hit 8 of 15 (53.3%).
The Raptors snapped an eight game losing streak, while the Suns have now lost three home games in a row. The Suns take on the Blazers on the road this Friday looking to snap their two game losing streak.