Raptors Burned By Hot Start From Suns At ACC
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February 25, 2011
TORONTO (AP) -- Vince Carter and Phoenix jumped all over struggling Toronto. That's just how it goes when the Suns play the Raptors.
Carter scored 17 points, Marcin Gortat had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Phoenix beat Toronto 110-92 on Friday night for its 13th consecutive victory against the Raptors.
Carter had 11 points in the first quarter as Phoenix built a 35-14 lead.
"We just had to try to take the fight out of them early and often," Carter said.
Channing Frye scored 16 points and Steve Nash shook off a 2-for-12 shooting performance to collect 11 assists, seven points and seven rebounds for the Suns, who have won six of eight on the road and nine of 11 overall.
"I thought we did a good job of controlling the game," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "Although Steve didn't shoot the ball well, you can see how he can have total control over a game without being a scorer."
Gortat has recorded four double-doubles in his past six games.
"He's a good pack rebounder," Gentry said. "When guys are around in the lane he seems to go up and be able to clear space and come up with rebounds."
Winners of seven straight north of the border, Phoenix hasn't lost to Toronto since a 101-94 home decision on Feb 10, 2004. Carter led Toronto with 29 points in that game.
Andrea Bargnani scored 26 points and former Suns guard Leandro Barbosa had 15 in this one for the Raptors, who have lost 19 of 22.
As usual, Carter was showered with boos in his return to face his original team. Late in the third quarter, as he came to the sideline to take an inbounds pass, a fan yelled "Retire, Vince!" Carter turned and answered "Not yet."
"He hadn't played up here in a month of Sundays but everybody still seems to want to boo him when he comes in," Gentry said. "That's great and fine because I thought it got him really focussed and really aggressive. When he plays like that, we're a really good team."
Suns forward Grant Hill could tell Carter was fired up long before the opening tip.
"We sensed it in the layup line when he was doing windmills," Hill said "I'm like 'We haven't seen that.' He's feeling good and obviously you want to play well against your old team. He came out and did a great job."
Carter had been held below 10 points in five of his previous nine games and had scored more than 16 just once in that span but made five of seven shots in the first quarter. Frye added 10 points and Nash had seven assists as Phoenix built a 21-point lead, Toronto's biggest first-quarter deficit of the season.
Toronto scored the game's opening basket but the Suns immediately tied it on a half-court alley-oop from Nash to Carter. Phoenix was soon up 11-2 and the Raptors never led again.
"They jumped on us early and for whatever reason we were a step slow tonight," Raptors coach Jay Triano said. "We were slow reacting, we were slow going to the ball on the glass and they take advantage of that."
DeMar DeRozan scored 12 of his 14 points in the second but the Raptors still trailed 60-42 at halftime. Phoenix widened its lead in the third, carrying an 86-62 lead into the final quarter.
Mickael Pietrus scored 14 and Hakim Warrick 12 for Phoenix, which led by as many as 26.
Gentry said newly acquired guard Aaron Brooks is in Phoenix for a physical. He's expected to join the team in Indianapolis, where the Suns face the Pacers on Sunday.
Toronto hasn't won back to back games since Dec. 1 and 3, when it posted home wins over Washington and Oklahoma City. The Raptors are 8-32 since.
NOTES: Nash now has 9,007 career assists. ... The Suns outrebounded the Raptors 42-31. ... Bargnani scored 12 of Toronto's 14 points in the first quarter. ... Raptors forward Joey Dorsey (back) was inactive. ... This was the first of six straight road games for the Suns. They don't play at home again until March 8. ... The Suns and Raptors met twice in the preseason, with Toronto winning both games by a combined total of 72 points. The Raptors won 129-78 on Oct. 6 and 121-100 on Oct. 17.