Raps get Sun-burned

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

PHOENIX -- The Raptors and Phoenix Suns launched more errant, long-range missiles last night than a Third World air force.

Phoenix went 4-for-25 from three-point range and the Raptors weren't much better at 5-for-21, a combined 20%.

Yet, despite their dismal long-range shooting, the two sides went nuts in the fourth quarter at America West Arena, launching 16 in total. In the end it was the Suns who ended up on top, 90-82, in a wild contest in the desert.

The Raptors, who are playing better and better with each game, battled the NBA's highest-scoring team tough and played uncharacteristically stingy defence, as the high-scoring Suns shot 43% from the field. Toronto, dropping to 1-10 on the season with three more games on their West Coast swing, shot 40% from the field. Phoenix improved to 5-5 on the season.

Overall, it was pretty sloppy game, with 35 total turnovers, 18 for Phoenix and 17 for Toronto. Victoria's Steve Nash committed eight. The Raptors also were out-rebounded 52-43.

Power forward Shawn Marion, who has come up huge for the Suns with the absence of Amare Stoudemire, had another big game, scoring 28 points with 18 rebounds. He already had a double-double with just under five minutes left in the first half.

Chris Bosh continued to be a tower of power for Toronto, just missing his eighth double-double in a row. He had 23 points and eight boards.

Bosh seemed to be cruising to another double-double in the third, but the Suns' Brian Grant stuck to the third-year Toronto forward like glue in the fourth, holding Bosh to zero points and rebounds.

"I'd say (the loss) is my fault," a dejected Bosh said after the game. "I didn't make smart decisions down the stretch. I let Grant force me to the outside, had a turnover and three missed shots."

"I just have to make sure I calm my nerves (late in the game)," he added. "It's a learning experience, but it's still frustrating."

Nash, last year's MVP in the NBA, started off slowly, managing just four points, zero assists with four turnovers in the first quarter, before finishing with nine assists, six rebounds and 23 points.

The two teams exchanged the lead throughout, right up until the last half of the fourth, when the Suns took control.

The Suns were without all-star forward/centre Stoudemire, who underwent left knee surgery and guard Leandro Barbosa with a sprained left knee. Barbosa had been averaging 15.7 points for Phoenix. Eric Williams did not play again for Toronto because of a sore right knee.

The Raptors jumped into a 10-2 lead early in the first quarter, shooting 50% from the field, while the Suns went 2-for-10. Phoenix charged back to tie the game 18-18 at the end of the quarter.


Videos

Photos