SEATTLE -- The Raptors long trek from dry and arid Arizona to wet and wild Washington ended with a thud last night, although not for lack of effort.
Led by six-time all-star Ray Allen, who scored 28 points in his first game back following a nine-game absence, the Seattle Supersonics flushed the Raptors down nearby Puget Sound with a 110-97 victory.
The loss ended a two-game, West Coast win streak for the 12-16 Raptors, who now head home for the Christmas break before hosting Mike James and the Minnesota Timberwolves next Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre.
Fatigue appeared to catch up to the Raptors, who have been on the road since last Monday with four games.
"I'm proud of the way we played, we competed every night, we got two wins and now guys get a little rest. I told them, we have to come back and we have a big homestand coming in January," head coach Sam Mitchell said.
"We need a day or two to recharge, but I told some of our guys, Christmas is for kids. Make sure if you need the work, get some work done. We want our Christmas to be in April. We want to compete for a playoff spot."
T.J. Ford had another great night for the Raptors, scoring 24, with three steals and nine assists, including a marvelous alley-oop pass to Fred Jones for an easy dunk after he intercepted a pass from Earl Watson, bringing the Raptors to within nine in the third quarter. Ford brought Toronto to within three at the end of the third quarter when he nailed two threes in the last 30 seconds.
Ford's backup at the point, Jose Calderon, also performed well, picking up six points and 10 dimes. The fiesty Spaniard also picked up five fouls. Jones scored 17 off the bench for Toronto while starting power forward Jorge Garbajosa chipped in with 18 points and seven boards and centre Rasho Nesterovic had 12 points and seven rebounds.
The Supersonics had six players in double-figures in scoring. Backup forward Nick Collison had 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench. The Sonics out-rebounded Toronto, 45-34. Allen also had six boards and five dimes.
The Raptors were coming off two huge, last-second wins: 98-96 on Wednesday in Los Angeles on a last second jump shot by Ford, and a 101-100 OT victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, courtesy of a 10-foot jump shot by rookie Andrea Bargnani with 3.5 seconds left. Toronto, in fact, had won five of their past seven without all-star forward Chris Bosh.
Seattle moved ahead 64-55 at the half, a tie for the most by an opponent in a half this season. Allen, back from missing nine games because of an ankle injury, scored 16.
Inspired by a hot hand by Garbajosa, the Raptors crawled to within five early in the third quarter but quickly found themselves trailing by double-figures as Allen went back to work.
The Raptors found themselves behind the eight ball early in the game, falling behind 36-22 after one quarter, as the Supersonics shot 64% from the field (16-for-25).
B- Offence: The Raptors shot 47% and forced Seattle to turn the ball over 14 times.
C- Defence: Seattle shot 51% from the floor and 7-for12 from three-point range.