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January 24: Phoenix Suns

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  • January 24: Phoenix Suns

    Casey has to be hot under the collar of late and a trip to the desert certainly won't help. (boooooooooo on that first line).

    Here is ESPN's preview:

    Unable to get things going in the first quarter, the reeling Toronto Raptors continue to falter.

    If recent history versus the Phoenix Suns is any indication, Toronto could have a hard time putting an end to its woes.

    Hoping to avoid a ninth consecutive defeat, the Raptors visit a Suns team looking to extend its winning streak in this series to 15 games Tuesday night.

    Averaging a league-worst 19.3 points over the first 12 minutes, Toronto's first-quarter struggles continued during Sunday's 103-91 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers. The Raptors (4-13) opened their five-game trip with another sluggish effort, getting outscored 27-11 in the opening quarter before ultimately suffering their eighth straight defeat.

    "Another loss -- and the way we lost is definitely frustrating," said swingman DeMar DeRozan, who finished with 15 points on 4-of-19 shooting. "We dug ourselves our own hole. We tried to fight back, but teams are too good in this league to allow that. Teams are going out there and jumping on our team. No one likes to take a loss, so we need to act like it from the start."

    While playing without leading scorer Andrea Bargnani (strained left calf) for the last six games certainly hasn't helped, Toronto has shot just 39.1 percent from the floor and been outscored by an average of 11.7 points during its skid.

    "Our starts have been horrendous. We compete harder in practice than we do to start the games," coach Dwane Casey said.

    "Like I told the team, we're gonna continue to work, we're gonna continue to get better -- that's where we are and that's the only thing we can do."

    Bargnani, averaging 22.3 points and a career-best 6.5 rebounds, is listed as day-to-day but could return Tuesday. The Raptors would surely love to see their most dangerous offensive threat back on the court as they try to knock off Phoenix (6-10) for the first time in almost eight years.

    Since prevailing 101-94 on the road Feb. 10, 2004, the Raptors have been outscored by 12.3 points per game in losing 14 in a row to the Suns.

    After posting back-to-back victories, Phoenix closed out a five-game trek with Monday's 93-87 loss at Dallas. The Suns outrebounded the Mavericks 52-42, but they shot a season-worst 37.3 percent from the floor and committed 19 turnovers -- eight by Grant Hill.

    Marcin Gortat continued his impressive play with 19 points and a season-best 17 boards for his eighth double-double in as many games. Gortat's impressive numbers, however, haven't translated into many wins for the Suns, who have gone 2-6 over that stretch.

    The Suns, who scored 105.5 points per game at home last season, have been held to 96.1 per game in going 3-4 at US Airways Center.

    Toronto's Leandro Barbosa, who spent the first seven years of his career with Phoenix, is averaging 17.6 points off the bench over his last seven contests.

    Bargnani has posted 25.7 points per game on 53.6 percent shooting in his last three meetings with the Suns.

    The Raps haven't won in Phoenix since 2004. The Suns aren't playing great ball these days at 6-10.

    Questions of the game:

    Is DeMar going to do anything that won't cause me to reach for an aspirin for both head and heart?

    Will Bargnani play?

    Is Amir still starting? Or better yet, is Amir playing? (time for him to sit a few in my opinion to mend)

    Will Kleiza get the nod at starting SF?

    Any one care to wager that Calderon vs Nash is NOT the 'Ford Key Matchup: Drive One' tonight?

  • #2
    Matt52 wrote: View Post
    ...Any one care to wager that Calderon vs Nash is NOT the 'Ford Key Matchup: Drive One' tonight?


    • #3
      Bargs is playing! Step in the right direction at least.


      • #4
        Start the night off with a GREAT alley-oop. Loving it!


        • #5
          The refs have totally ruined this game for me.


          • #6
            Bargnani is a beast, one of the main reasons we're still in game. Honorable mention goes to: James Johnson, Leandro Barbosa


            • #7
              And just as I said in the thread about the Clippers game:

              Put Bargnani on the roster and this team is not neearly as Brutal and Depressing to watch as has been made out to be.


              • #8
                Why'd it seem like Bargnani was guarding Nash?


                • #9
                  joey_hesketh wrote: View Post
                  Start the night off with a GREAT alley-oop. Loving it!
                  I felt for a brief second that after that dunk, DeMar was going to have a good game with Andrea back in the line-up. MAN WAS I WRONG! How many times does he need to shoot (sling) step back/fading jumpers that don't go in to realize he is not a shooter. He had times where he had his defender in the air off a pump fake, does he draw contact, nope, does he drive the lane, nope, does he take a fade-away crappy sling towards the hoop, yes.

                  Seriously, what is wrong with this kid. If you are not scoring, do something to help your team.
                  Twitter @WJ_FINDLAY


                  • #10
                    Ryan_1523 wrote: View Post
                    Why'd it seem like Bargnani was guarding Nash?
                    Because Pheonix ONLY runs the Pick and Roll and Bargs had to switch on a number of Occasions. Which he's gotten quite proficient at. As well as showing hard on the pick and roll as well.

                    Regardless, I'd say the P&R is one of his best areas of improvement in terms of Defense, and it's great to see.


                    • #11
                      I hadn't managed to watch a game for the last couple weeks with moving. I missed about 8 games, how did the Raptors do? I've only seen them win this year so they must be awesome!


                      • #12
                        Great game by Bargnani. He's had the offensive nights before but to do it off an injury and play 42 minutes... awesome. Barbosa was very good in the first half and James Johnson played maybe his best game as a Raptor. Everyone else was somewhere between bad and awful.

                        Not to downplay the win (it was sorely needed) but Ed Davis barely played. Derozan was a total non-factor. Amir was a total non-factor. Same with Bayless. It's been that way for some time now. Wasn't this year supposed to be about developing these guys and seeing what they have? Maybe Casey's seen enough to know what they have: not much.

                        Still, they needed a win and Casey did what it took to get one. I just hope for Bargs' sake that Amir and Davis can do something cause Bargnani can't be playing 42 minutes a night....


                        • #13
                          By the way, did anyone catch the Ford Key Matchup?


                          • #14
                            Oh yeah, forgot to mention....

                            Despite sitting on the bench, Ed and Amir were still very much involved and up on the bench clapping at the end of the game on big plays. Obviously I'd prefer to see them contributing on the court but at least they don't have a towel over their head sulking.


                            • #15
                              Robin Lopez was suspended 1 game for his bump of the referee.