Game Preview: Raptors at Suns
Toronto Raptors (17-8) @ Phoenix Suns (9-19)
When: Wednesday, December 13, 9:00 P.M. ET.
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena
Broadcast info: TSN, SN590
The Raptors recorded a 126-113 victory against the Phoenix Suns at the Air Canada Centre on Dec. 5 behind seven players reaching double figures. The Raptors jumped out to an early lead, scoring 36 points in the opening quarter and then exploding for a 42-point third quarter, to go into the fourth ahead by 18 points. Phoenix used an 11-2 run and a 34-point fourth quarter to get within 10 points midway through the quarter, but the outcome was never in doubt. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry each scored 20 points, Serge Ibaka added 19 points and OG Anunoby tied a career-high with 16 points. The Suns were led by Devin Booker's 19 points, but he left the game with a strained adductor late in the fourth quarter.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: Delon Wright (right shoulder) and Lucas Nogueira (right calf) will miss the game for the Raptors. The Suns will be without Devin Booker (left adductor strain), Brandon Knight (out for the season after ACL surgery), Davon Reed (left meniscus repair) and Alan Williams (right meniscus repair).
Back-to-back: Wednesday's match up against the Suns will be the final game in a four-game west-coast road trip for Toronto. After taking care of the first two games, the Raptors faltered in Los Angeles, falling 96-91 to the Clippers in an ugly game that no one wants to remember. Wednesday will be a back-to-back for the Suns, who played against the Kings in Sacramento on Tuesday.
Road warriors: With the completion of this four-game trip, the Raptors will return to Toronto having played the fewest home games in the league. The positive of this is that moving forward, the team will not travel beyond the Central Time Zone for the remainder of the season and will not have a road trip longer than three games the rest of the way through.
Assist club: Kyle Lowry is averaging 7.0 assists per game, eighth in the league. When he reaches double figures in assists, recording 10 or more, the Raptors are 5-0. Lowry is also averaging 16.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 0.9 steals in 25 games this season.
Looking forward: After Monday's disappointing loss against the Clippers, the Raptors are ready to leave the loss in Los Angeles and focus on finishing their road trip strong. "It happens," DeMar DeRozan said. "We're going to have nights like that where we miss shots. We made a lot of mistakes in the last couple of minutes of the game."
Battle on the boards: Though the Raptors held the Clippers under 40 percent shooting (37 percent), they were dominated on the boards. Los Angeles grabbed 57 rebounds, including 14 on the offensive glass, six offensive boards coming from DeAndre Jordan. Late in the game, they allowed the Clippers to control crucial offensive rebounds off of missed free throws. The Raptors as a team had 39 rebounds, and just three on the offensive glass. Against the Suns, and moving forward, regardless of the five-man lineup on the floor, Toronto will be looking to be quicker to the glass.