Nov 30, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (3) celebrates late in the fourth quarter with a victory imminent against the Phoenix Suns at the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Suns 101-97. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Phoenix Suns (97) vs Raptors (101) - Game Recap

Nov 30, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown (26) is stopped by Toronto Raptors center Amir Johnson (15) as he goes to the basket at the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Suns 101-97. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

“For this relief, much thanks” Hamlet, W. Shakespeare

The Raptors proved to their opponents, to their increasingly desperate fans, & to themselves, that they could grind out a victory. In a taut game (11 lead changes & 8 ties), the Raps were the beneficiaries at game’s end of a shot that didn’t fall, & a pair of free throws that did. Maybe there was something in the water – Andrea Bargnani was invisible on offence, but played tight D when most needed. The Raps’ 6-game losing streak is history, mercifully.

The Raps were neck & neck with the Suns early, until hitting one of their patented shooting slumps. On the other end, the Suns were slashing through the paint for easy buckets, & held a 10-point lead. DeMar DeRozan brought his team back to within 6, which was flattering. The second quarter featured some fine shooting from distance, including newbie Mikael Pietrus’ first 3-ball. Kyle Lowry contributed a huge one at the buzzer, & the difference was a point.

This game was won by the second unit, which energized a team looking uninterested. Amir Johnson scored from inside & out on his way to 16 points, while Jose Calderon contributed 13 point & 9 assists. He was perfect on 3 shots from distance. Ed Davis pulled down 8 boards. Lowry shot well, but had the same number of turnovers (2) as assists. AB, perhaps still hobbled from his ankle injury, had 1 bucket on 4 attempts, but did grab the rebound off Shannon Brown’s game-tying attempt, & buried the FTs to ice the game after being fouled. DeRozan led all scorers with 23 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, & handed out 4 assists. The young man is clearly emerging as a borderline All-Star. Linas Kleiza, given yet another opportunity to grab the Small Forward role, played half the minutes, & scored fewer points, than Pietrus, who joined the Raps on game day.

The tired Suns played very well, roaring back from a 9-point deficit early in the Q4 to give themselves a chance to play overtime. Brown’s layup rolled off, which might be the first big break the Raps have enjoyed this season. Jared Dudley missed but 1 shot on his way to 14 points, which tied with Marcin Gortat & Brown for team high.

Toronto has the weekend to rest their banged-up bodies, before taking on the Nuggets in Denver Monday night, the first of 5 straight roadies.

 

 

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