Game Rap: Raptors 91, Suns 99

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

IT WAS OVER WHEN

Devin Booker drilled a pair of free throws to put the Suns up seven with 42.7 seconds remaining. Toronto would not score again and Phoenix closed out a 99-91 home victory against the Raptors.

PATTERSON LEAVES EARLY

Patrick Patterson checked out of the game at the 9:50 mark of the second quarter and did not return. The team later announced that he had a strained left knee and would not be returning to the game.

SLUGGISH START

One night after giving up 42 points in the first quarter to the Golden State Warriors, it was a different story in Phoenix. With each team on the second night of a back-to-back, the first quarter was a struggle. Both teams shot below 40 percent and the Raptors led 18-16, after the first 12 minutes of action.

DISAPPEARING DEFENCE

Although Phoenix struggled in the first quarter, they bounced back offensively in the second. Toronto struggled to slow the Suns who shot 50 percent from the floor. Toronto also struggled to shake off the shooting slump that plagued the team in the first quarter, shooting 38 percent in the second frame. Thanks to hot shooting from the Suns, Phoenix took a two-point lead into the halftime break. DeMar DeRozan and Eric Bledsoe led their respective teams with 13 points apiece.

THIRD QUARTER SWITCH-UP

After a close first half, things turned in the third. Unfortunately for Toronto, the momentum swung in Phoenix’s favour as the Suns shot 55 percent from the floor and outscored the Raptors 34-22 to take a 14-point lead into the final quarter. Toronto shot just 37 percent in the third quarter.

SO CLOSE BUT STILL SO FAR

The Raptors finally found their shooting stroke in the fourth, and it was too late to complete a comeback. Toronto outscored Phoenix 29-22 in the final quarter, shooting 53 percent while holding the Suns to 35 percent shooting, but was unable to get closer than five points down the stretch. It was an uncharacteristically sloppy night for the Raptors, with five turnovers in the fourth quarter alone.

RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Kyle Lowry is the @biosteelsports Performer of the Game.

A photo posted by Toronto Raptors (@raptors) on

UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME

Cory Joseph bounced back from a slow start to be Toronto’s leading scorer off the bench with 15 points on 6-for-10 field goals. He made both of his three-point attempts and one of two free throw attempts while adding six rebounds and an assist in 25 minutes of action. The team was a +7 when Joseph was on the floor.

THAT'S A RAP…

“We can’t have the slow starts. It makes it hard for us in the long run of the game. Tonight was one of them nights. Try to do it off a back-to-back night where we exerted so much energy last night in the game [against the Warriors]. Coming out slow tonight, trying to fight through the same thing, it just catches up with you. We’ve got to start out the gate with the intensity that we had in the fourth quarter.”
- DeMar DeRozan on the trouble with slow starts

BY THE #’S

45…Percent shooting for the Suns, 40 percent shooting for the Raptors.

13…Fast break points for the Suns, eight for the Raptors.

19…Turnovers for the Raptors who have been fantastic at taking care of the ball this season, Thursday’s loss aside. The Suns scored 23 points off Toronto’s miscues, while the Raptors scored just 11 points off Phoenix’s 20 turnovers.

22…Points, 10 assists, five rebounds, three steals, two blocks and eight turnovers for Eric Bledsoe who did a bit of everything for the Suns.

THEY SAID IT…

“It was the second start in a row we didn't get off to a good start. I thought we let our lack of offence, making shots, de-energize us on the other end and it really got us de-energized on the offensive end. We weren’t moving, we weren’t playing with force. It’s something that has been going on a little while and we can’t create bad habits. We were doing some of this when we were winning. Now it’s catching up to us, we’ve got to fix it. A lot of it’s mental. We catch ourselves standing, we catch ourselves playing in mud. That’s why we went to the small lineup, trying to get some speed, quickness, juice into the game because I thought that’s where we were; Kind of playing in mud for three quarters.”
- Dwane Casey summing up the loss

“That’s a good team down there. They play hard, they’re young. Don’t knock that team. They beat us tonight. They definitely beat us tonight.”
- Kyle Lowry on the Suns

“It sucks. Especially when we were trying to make a run in the fourth quarter and didn’t get it. We had too many mistakes tonight. Too many turnovers. Couldn’t make shots. It was a little bit of everything.”
- DeMar DeRozan on the feeling after the loss

“It’s one of those things, you see the habits. You see the slow starts, playing our way into games then finding a way to win down the stretch. It’s going to catch up to you sooner or later. Our guys are competitors, they have confidence in the way they compete, but it’s a dangerous way to play when you kind of slow, feel your way into the game, no matter who you’re playing, and try to play tough the second half.”
- Dwane Casey on needing to get better starts moving forward

“I think we didn't have the pace early and that’s my fault. We should have picked up the pace earlier in the game. We should have been going up and down quicker, not letting them get set. They’re long, athletic and active. I think we should have picked up the pace, and me personally, I should have had the pace going faster earlier.”
- Kyle Lowry on Toronto not playing the right pace early

UP NEXT:

The Raptors will fly to Los Angeles to prepare to face the Lakers on Sunday at 10:30 P.M. ET.

Raptors Post-Game: Dwane Casey - December 29, 2016

Head coach Dwane Casey addresses the media following Toronto's 99-91 road loss against Phoenix on Thursday night.

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Raptors Post-Game: Dwane Casey - December 29, 2016

Head coach Dwane Casey addresses the media following Toronto's 99-91 road loss against Phoenix on Thursday night.
Dec 30, 2016  |  01:58

Raptors Post-Game: Kyle Lowry - December 29, 2016

Kyle Lowry addresses the media following Toronto's 99-91 road loss against Phoenix on Thursday night.
Dec 30, 2016  |  01:26

Raptors Post-Game: DeMar DeRozan - December 29, 2016

DeMar DeRozan addresses the media following Toronto's 99-91 road loss against Phoenix on Thursday night.
Dec 30, 2016  |  01:40

Raptors Post-Game: Patrick Patterson - December 29, 2016

Patrick Patterson addresses the media following Toronto's 99-91 road loss against Phoenix on Thursday night.
Dec 29, 2016  |  00:55