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A rejuvenated, well-rested Toronto Raptors (15-7) team dismantled the Phoenix Suns (9-17) at Air Canada Centre 126-113 on Tuesday night, bringing their home record to a league-best 9-1.
It was clear from the opening tip the Suns had tired legs on the second night of their back-to-back. They let the Raptors get whatever they wanted on offence and couldn’t get back in transition early on, finishing the first quarter down 36-23.
Kyle Lowry set the tone early for Toronto, scoring 13 points on 5/6 shooting in the opening twelve minutes. He also buckled down on defence, taking two charges to bring his league-leading total to 17. To put how impressive that is into perspective, the player with the next highest total is 10. Lowry finished with a 20-point, 10-assist double-double.
Lowry’s backcourt mate DeMar DeRozan helped get others involved, finding the open man in the corner with regularity throughout the game. He finished with 8 assists to complement his 20 points.
After scoring 84 points combined in his past two games, Devin Booker struggled with his shot, converting just four of his 15 field goals. Things went from bad to worse for Booker, when the promising shooting guard had to be carried off the court late in the fourth quarter with an apparent groin injury. Booker was the second Suns player forced out of the game after swingman T.J. Warren was ejected in the third quarter after receiving a double technical.
OG Anunoby had the best shooting game of his young career, converting four 3-pointers to finish with 16 points. Serge Ibaka had a solid outing as well, finishing with 19 points and three triumphant blocks that certainly made Dikembe Mutombo (who was courtside) very pleased.
An issue that’s plagued the Raptors this season has been consistency for a full 48 minutes. Aside from an 8-0 run to start the second, and an 11-2 run early in the fourth that brought the game to within 10 points, Toronto was focused throughout. Luckily for the Raps, they were up against the worst defensive team in the NBA, so any lapses on defence could quickly be made up for on the other end of the floor.
Toronto has a couple of days off before its next game on Friday, December 8th.