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Nash And Suns Scorch The Raptors

Related: Box Score | Photos | Game Rap: Raptors Can't Claw Their Way Back | Ulmer: Nash Burns Raps Again
Related Video: Game In Six | Triano | Bosh | Bargnani | Jack
More Video: DeRozan Throws It Down | Bosh's Big Second Quarter | DeRozan With The Put Back
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November 29, 2009

TORONTO (CP) -- The Toronto Raptors hurled every kind of defensive scheme at Steve Nash, but the Victoria point guard and the high-octane offence of the Phoenix Suns proved too much for Toronto -- again.

Nash had 20 points and 16 assists to lead Phoenix to a 113-94 win over the Raptors on Sunday, the Suns' 12th consecutive victory over Toronto.

``We went under, we trapped, we tried everything we could,'' Raptors coach Jay Triano said of defending Nash. ``I think for the most part we surprised him on the first possession of each change defensively, they either missed or we got the ball.

``But the second time he recognizes what you did and when you have a veteran who has been around and seen every coverage ... he is going to make adjustments.''

Chris Bosh had 30 points and 17 rebounds to top Toronto (7-11) for his 12th double double in his last 13 outings. Andrea Bargnani added 24 points, DeMar DeRozan finished with 14, and Hedo Turkoglu and Jarrett Jack added 10 apiece for the Raptors.

The Raptors lost for the seventh time in their last nine games, done in Sunday largely due to their uncharacteristic futility from three-point range _ they shot just 1-for-20 from behind the arc.

``It comes down to three-pointers,'' Triano said. ``(The Suns) are the best three-point shooting team in the league and you can see why. We are the third best and we didn't really show it today.''

The Suns shot 13-for-30 from three-point range.

Jason Richardson had four threes en route to 22 points to top the Suns (14-3), who matched a franchise-best start to the season. Amare Stoudemire added 18 and Leandro Barbosa finished with 17.

The Raptors haven't beaten Phoenix since a 101-94 win on Feb. 10, 2004, the final game between the two teams before Nash re-signed with the Suns. Phoenix arrived in Toronto for this matchup sporting the best record in the NBA, and had scored 100-plus points in every game this season.

The Raptors stayed within 10 points for the first half in front of an Air Canada Centre crowd of 17,721 dotted with orange Nash jerseys before the Suns broke the game open with a 30-11 run to start the third quarter. Phoenix took an 84-76 lead into the fourth.

Turkoglu opened the quarter with a basket and free throw to cut the Suns' lead to five points, but that was as close as the home team would come. The Raptors ran out of gas down the stretch - evident when an unmarked Nash scored on an easy fallaway jumper with under three minutes left to give the Suns an 18-point lead. A smattering of the fans that were left in the arena booed when the final buzzer sounded.

``We just missed shots,'' Bosh said. ``We're not going to make every shot, but collectively we could be more aggressive trying to get to the basket and trying to get offensive rebounds, a few second chance points, and just step in there and do things that will get the crowd into it and give us opportunities to score.''

The Suns shot 51 per cent from the floor while the Raptors shot 39.

Nash has had a stunning start to this season, coming into Sunday's game averaging an NBA-high and career-best 11.8 assists.

``I still love to play with this team, I still love my teammates, love the game, I train really hard throughout the summer and the season,'' Nash said. ``It takes a lot of preparation as you get older to stay fit and stay sharp so it was a lot of sacrifice, but I'm willing to do that because I love playing, I love winning, and I love being part of the team.''

Suns coach Alvin Gentry said he wouldn't trade Nash for any other guard in the league.

``That's really sweet of the old guy, but I'm sure if they offered (Hornets guard) Chris Paul for me, he'd kick me out the door,'' Nash said, laughing. ``Good one Alvin.''

Nash certainly loves his team's red-hot start after last season's disappointment of missing the playoffs.

``it's great, it's fun to win, after last year's disappointment, this is really important to all of us, we're not taking any games for granted ..."

Two days after Bosh took a knee to the groin from Boston's Paul Pierce in Toronto's 116-103 loss to the Celtics that left him writhing on the floor, Bosh got battered again Sunday when Stoudemire sent the Raptors forward sprawling to the floor with a flagrant foul.

The Suns shot 65 per cent in the first quarter while the Raptors managed just 33, yet the Phoenix never led by more than seven points until Barbosa scored five points in the final 48 seconds to send the Suns into the second quarter up 33-25.

The Suns stretched their lead to 10 early in the second, but Bosh poured in 16 points in the quarter and the Raptors outscored their visitors 24-15 to the end of the half to cut the Suns' lead to 50-49 at halftime.

Nash contributed 11 points to the Suns' third-quarter run, as Phoenix assembled a 19-point lead with 3:29 left in the frame. Toronto battled back and Turkoglu converted a three-point play with 3.5 seconds left, and the Suns led 84-76 with one quarter left to play.

Notes: The Suns had beat the Raptors once already this month, edging them 101-100 on Nov. 15 behind 30 points from Stoudemire and late-game heroics by Nash. ... The Raptors host the Wizards on Tuesday, then head out on the road with stops in Atlanta on Wednesday and Washington on Friday.