After seeing their historic 11-game winning streak come to blistering halt, the Toronto Raptors resumed basketball duties in a very up-and-down game against the lowly Phoenix Suns. The Raptors came away with a 104-97 victory but it wasn’t easy by any means. The Raptors led by as many as 14 points, but the spirited Suns just kept finding ways to fight back. Disgruntled Suns forward Markieff Morris and rookie guard Devin Booker both has monster games. Morris and Booker combined for 57 points respectively but it wasn’t enough to stop the Raptors who now improve to 33-16 on the season.
Cage’s report card:
The offence for the Raptors at times was rolling tonight. They shot 47% from the field, while getting major contributions from the bench unit. The dynamic duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan led the charge. Lowry was making it rain from beyond the arc converting on 5 triples and DeRozan was doing his part to make it known that he’s virtually unguardable – at least if your name is P.J. Tucker.
The Raptors also did a tremendous job of pounding the rock by getting to the charity stripe 32 times. Lowry finished with a team high 26 points.
The incredibly undermanned Suns put up 97 points on 47% shooting against what’s supposed to be a top 10 defence in this league. The Suns didn’t have much resistance as the Raptors for the second night in a row looked a step slow.
Newly appointed head coach Earl Watson elected for some incredibly small lineups which appeared to prove problematic for Toronto. It also seemed that the Raptors couldn’t find an answer for Booker as he lit up whoever Dwane Casey to triee stick on him. The kid is a knockdown shooter with a solid handle – he finished with 27 points in eyebrow raising fashion.
There were a lot of 50-50 balls in this uptempo game. The Raptors did a solid job of securing rebounds in critical possessions. Toronto lost the battle on the glass 38-35 however a bright spot is they were able to sustain their effort on the offensive glass. Bismack Biyombo had a team high 12 rebounds coming off the bench in nearly 30 minutes of action.
Game ball: DeMar DeRozan
Tonight’s game ball goes to co-player of the month DeMar DeRozan. DeMar gets the nod because how hard he had to work for his buckets. With Tucker’s physicality on defence, DeRozan wasn’t getting any easy looks. His ability to play through the contact even when it wasn’t being called seemed to spark the rest of his team. DeMar finished with a line of 22 points 2 rebounds and 3 assists.