The Raptors led for most of Wednesday's all-offence display but the Suns offered a reminder of their ability to fill it up in a hurry with a 15-2 run to end the third tied at 86-86.
The Raptors used a 6-0 run to forge ahead 103-97 with 4:16 to play, but Phoenix used zone defence to limit them offensively, and outscored them 17-3 the rest of the way. Steve Nash delivered the dagger courtesy of a jumper with 23.6 seconds to play that put the Suns ahead 112-105 and they'd hang on from there.
Aaron Brooks led a big, much-needed bench effort for the Suns with 25 points, eight assists, four rebounds and three steals in just under 34 minutes of work. For his head coach Alvin Gentry, Brooks' big game was a result of being more hands-off with the recently acquired guard.
"I think I’ve got to let him call plays that he feels comfortable with, where he’s seeing what’s going on," said Gentry. "I think he’s a lot more comfortable doing that and has a lot better feel, if I kind of let him run the show when he is in there. I did that when he went in the second time and I thought he did a really good job."
A nice bounce back game for Ed Davis after a handful of quieter efforts of late. With starting power forward Amir Johnson still limited by an ankle injury, it was Davis -- not Reggie Evans -- logging the lion's share of frontcourt minutes off the bench with about 23.
He showed some nice poise in the fourth quarter on a lob pass from Jose Calderon and a laser beam of a high-low feed from Andrea Bargnani for four of his seven points, plus his nine rebounds gave him his highest total since March 11 and team-high honours in that category to a Raptor not named Reggie Evans for the first time in eight games.
"We didn’t make any shots. They went zone and we had open looks and didn’t make them, and we didn’t move the ball particularly well, but we still had open looks and didn’t make them. And this is a team that makes threes. We shoot a better percentage than them, we out-rebound them and they (Phoenix) made three-point shots and that’s what this team does."
- Jay Triano, on the fourth quarter
Fri., Mar. 25 @ Golden State
10:30 PM, Sportsnet One, FAN590
The Raptors try and level their road trip at 2-2 with a win in the Bay Area over the Warriors. Stopping the Golden State backcourt of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis is going to key -- the multi-skilled guards combined for 62 points in the Warriors' 109-102 win at ACC on Nov. 8 and shot it at an incredible clip (a combined 56.4 per cent). The Raps have dropped six straight in Oakland.
|.467||Shooting % for the Suns, vs. .485 for the Raptors|
|49-42||Rebounding edge for the Raptors|
|12||3-pointers made by the Suns, vs. 3 for the Raptors|
|13||Biggest lead for the Raptors|
|20-12||Fast break points favouring the Raptors|
|"When you start missing two or three (shots), maybe we have to try and go a little bit more inside, but it’s not like force inside, it was good looks we just didn’t make them."|
- Andrea Bargnani on executing in the fourth
|"(Frye) and Marcin (Gortat) are about to kill me—I think Channing has played 90 minutes in the last two nights or something like that. But I thought it was our best win of the year, really."|
- Suns head coach Alvin Gentry on his team's win
|"I think we didn’t do a great job on the offense, especially (against) the zone. We couldn’t score and that gave them opportunities to score a couple threes and a couple twos."|
- Leandro Barbosa, on the finish in the fourth