Raptors Can't Claw Their Way Back In the Fourth Quarter
Asif Hossain and Mike Ulmer November 29, 2009
Air Canada Centre
The Raptors had closed to within six points of the Suns in the fourth quarter. But then Phoenix guard Leandro Barbosa stepped in to make a tough shot that seemed to take the air out of a possible comeback.
With just over 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Barbosa hit a bucket from deep, while taking a hard foul from Belinelli in the process. After picking himself up off the floor, Barbosa sunk the free throw that put the visiting Suns up by nine points. The Raptors had cut the Suns' once 17-point lead down to six before that, but Phoenix never looked back after Barbosa's gutsy play.
Oh, how about Steve Nash. The Victoria, BC native scored 20, ladled out 16 assists and glided in and out of the Raptors defence at will.
Nash played for over 34 minutes and made the most of his time on the court. He came into the game as the league leader in assists, averaging 11.8 per game, which is far and away the best average in the NBA so far this season. His performance helped Phoenix improve to 14-3, which ties the best start to a season in Suns' franchise history.
Jarrett Jack. For the second straight game, Jack stood out as the best scoring option off the bench for the Raptors.
He gave the Raps 22 quality minutes in relief of Jose Calderon. Jack went five for eight, breached the Phoenix defence often and ended up with 10 points and just one turnover. Although he could only manage a single assist on the day, he outscored the rest of the Raptors bench by four points.
The only stat that mattered, said Raptors coach Jay Triano, was the three point column.
Phoenix nailed 13 of 30 for a respectable 43 per cent. The Raptors could only manage one, an Andrea Bargnani shot, in 20 attempts. Yes, 20. Hedo Turkoglu struggled, missing all five of his attempts, Bargnani missed four times, while the entire Raptors bench was shutout from downtown on eight tries.
"That is why they are number one. They are number one in the NBA because they get penetration and find different ways. If you don't help on the penetration, they score and if you help, they just kick for threes. You got to pick your poison."
- Jay Triano on defending the three against Phoenix.
Tue. Dec. 1 vs.
Washington Wizards 7:00 PM ET (theScore, FAN 590)
GAME NOTES: The Raptors are back in action Tuesday at Air Canada Centre, where they'll take on the Washington Wizards for the first time this season. The Wizards are last in the Southeast Division, with a record of just five wins after 15 games. Washington showed improvement when forward Antawn Jamison returned to the line-up, but he was held to just six points in the Wizards' last game, a 92-76 loss at home versus Charlotte Bobcats.
The most glaring, how many three point shots the Raptors made on the day to the Suns' 13
Suns shooting percentage from the field to the Raptors 39.1
Raps bench production versus 28 points from Phoenix
Number of double-doubles for Chris Bosh -- the NBA leader in that category
How many points Bosh and Bargnani scored combined versus 40 from the rest of the Raptors
"It's great. It is fun to win. After last year's disappointment it was really important to all of us." - Steve Nash on Phoenix matching the best start in team history at 14-3.
"I don't know but whatever it is, we have to get it turned around ... we have to come out with a better start." - Jarrett Jack on the Raptors' continued third quarter woes.
"We went under, trapped, we tried everything we could ... (Nash) has been around and seen every coverage ... he is going to make adjustments" -
Jay Triano on playing defence against Steve Nash.
17.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.7 APG
Notes: While Steve Nash was a focus for many, Jason Richardson quietly put together a game with excellent fantasy value. The Michigan native scored 22 points, hitting four of his six three point shots and grabbing nine rebounds.
25.1 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 1.7 APG
Notes: Another day, another double-double for Chris Bosh, who continues to lead the league with 15. He was dazzling at times, throwing down monster dunks, but more importantly for fantasy players, Bosh shot 13 for 26 from the field for 30 points. He also added 17 rebounds to the cause in 37 minutes of work.