Weird night for Colangelo

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

Bryan Colangelo will never forget the first time he faced his former team, a team he built.

While much of the focus in last night's Raptors game at the Air Canada Centre was on Phoenix Suns guard and Canadian hero Steve Nash, an underlining featured Toronto's new president/general manager being on the opposite side of the team he helped make one of the pre-eminent in the National Basketball Association.

11 SEASONS

The Suns were the team Colangelo helped put together during 11 seasons as GM, including the off-season signing of Nash, whom he embraced during the warmup.

In the end, the Suns won 140-126 and Nash contributed 20 points, but so did many of the other pieces Colangelo put together in Phoenix's solid lineup.

"I've had a few things going on tonight outside of just the game," a slightly exasperated Colangelo said. "I've got a lot of things flying, a lot of people to talk to. I got to see most of the game.

"Once the game started, it was like any other. Obviously, I'm looking at the Raptors as my team and wish (the Suns) well 80 times a year, but the two times we're playing them I certainly hope we have some success. It was an entertaining game, but we came out on the short end."

Before the game, Colangelo joked how it almost felt as though it was an away game for him.

"I saw some of the familiar faces, the radio/TV guys and then of course the coaches and I'm still in somewhat of a foreign building," he said.

The Suns are first in the Pacific Division with a 49-23 record and second overall in the Western Conference. Colangelo has a shot to repeat as executive of the year -- as unusual as that would be, since he no longer is with the organization.

"I think that will be a first," Colangelo said.

"I don't know if it's possible, certainly not counting on it. If people feel that I'm worthy of that, then so be it, but I don't even know if it's possible that it happens."

Colangelo said his thoughts are on turning around the Raptors.

"I'm trying to make this thing work, make the Toronto Raptors a better organization basketball-wise," he said.

"That's what my primary goal and focus is now."

Suns head coach Mike D'Antoni, who inherited Colangelo's GM job, praised his successor.

"We're just trying to carry on what Bryan started and just keep the ball rolling and our philosophies are going to stay intact, which is nice," he said.

When asked what the Raptors received with the hiring of Colangelo, D'Antoni joked: "Not a very good shooter."

REPORT CARD

B- Offence: It's easy to look good on offence against the Phoenix Suns, who don't play much better on defence than do the Raptors.

D- Defence: What is there to say? Allowed Phoenix to score 140 points, shoot 58% from the field and out-score Toronto on fast-breaks 22-9.


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