Hot-handed forward misfires potential game winner against the Suns
The most competitive game against a top tier team this season turned sour for the Toronto Raptors as Hedo Turkoglu missed a shot at the buzzer, handing the Raps a heart breaking loss to the Suns, 101-100.
The miss, combined with Phoenix’s stellar shooting from the free throw line, solidified victory for the first place Suns.
Amare Stoudemire celebrated his 27th birthday scoring 30 points, including a 10-11 night from the stripe. Steve Nash dominated fellow guard Jose Calderon, throwing down 23 points and adding 9 assists. Calderon finished the contest with just 8 points, going 3 for 7 from the field.
Stoudemire and Nash bounced back after mutual poor performances against the Lakers. The Suns’ tandem left the Raptors wishing for the kind of clutch experience the Phoenix club is known for , with Nash driving the lane, drawing the foul and scoring with 38.9 seconds left, extending the Suns home court win streak at 4 games. Channing Frye’s 6 three pointers once again exposed Toronto’s weak perimeter defense, while Stoudemire’s inside play gave Phoenix a one-two punch all night long.
“Anytime you have a game like that, especially as a team, it feels great,” Stoudemire said. “This was a bounce-back game.”
Chris Bosh had his 8th double double for the Raptors, scoring 25 points and pulling down 10 boards. Turkoglu finished with 20 points and Andrea Bargnani chipped in with 17.
The Raptors can take a few small victories in the loss as the team finally showed it can compete against a formidable opponent like the Suns. The team shot well in the first 3 quarters but ended the game shooting just 39% in the final 12 minutes. Despite the low percentage, Toronto managed to hold the Suns when it mattered, forcing Phoenix to make clutch shots of their own.
Phoenix is currently undefeated at home this season, their 4 and 0 record matched by just the Western Conference’s Milwakee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks. The club is 9-2, good for first place in the Western Conference, and have scored over 100 points in every game so far this year.
Toronto falls to 5-5 and is a half game behind the 8th seeded Chicago Bulls. The team travels to Denver for a game versus the Nuggets on Wednesday.