NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 6th (All times Eastern)
Toronto Raptors (6-11) at Phoenix Suns (10-9), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors have dropped a season-high four straight games and no loss was more disappointing than the opener of a three- game western trek earlier this week.
The Raptors will try to put their recent setback out of memory when they visit the Phoenix Suns Friday night at US Airways Center.
Toronto suffered a 112-103 loss at Golden State on Tuesday. The final score indicates the Raptors probably trailed through most of the game. That would be incorrect because the Raptors blew a 27-point advantage (75-48) and relinquished an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Golden State scored 42 of the 57 points in the last 12 minutes and recorded its first comeback of more than 18 points in the fourth quarter since the Philadelphia Warriors rallied from 19 points down at Boston on February 9, 1962. Toronto was led by DeMar DeRozan's 26 points and Kyle Lowry added 20 points and nine assists.
Rudy Gay and Amir Johnson netted 18 and 16 points, respectively, for the Raptors, who shot 51.9 percent for the game and fell to 0-7 when allowing 100- plus points this season. Gay and Lowry are averaging 17.6 ppg in the last five contests.
DeRozan has scored 17 or more points in a career-high 11 straight games and is averaging 24.5 points per game in that stretch. He needs 18 points to become the sixth player in franchise history with 5,000 career points and would join Chris Bosh (10,275), Vince Carter (9,420), Andrea Bargnani (6,581), Morris Peterson (6,498) and Jose Calderon (5,235).
The Raptors, who have lost six of eight games overall, are 3-5 away from Canada and will visit the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday at Staples Center. That day could mark the possible return of future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant. Bryant has been recovering from Achilles surgery.
Phoenix ended a two-game slide its last time out and won for the fifth time in eight tries with Wednesday's 97-88 win at Houston.
Eric Bledsoe had 20 points and seven assists, Goran Dragic added 19 points and P.J. Tucker scored 18 for the Suns, who shot 45.6 percent and scored 25 points off 23 Houston turnovers. The Suns, playing their second game in as many nights, almost squandered their lead in the fourth quarter, when the Rockets posted a 27-24 advantage.
"They cut it down, and we could have gotten panicked where we forced shots, but we didn't," Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek said.
The Suns held the Rockets to a season-low 35.2 percent shooting from the field and kept the NBA's top-ranked scoring unit (108.1) to over 20 points below its season average.
Dragic has scored at least 14 points and handed out eight assists in six of the last eight games, averaging 20.0 points and 8.0 assists in that time. Bledsoe returned to the starting lineup on Tuesday after missing six games with a left shin contusion. He leads the Suns with 18.8 ppg.
Phoenix is 5-3 at home this season and lost both meetings with Toronto in 2012-13. The Raptors have won three in a row over the Suns after losing the previous 14 encounters between the teams, but Phoenix still holds a 15-5 advantage in the past 20 games in this series.
The Raptors have won their last two trips to the desert.
12/06 10:26:13 ET