Sports Raptors come up short against Suns for second straight loss

13:26  30 december  2016
13:26  30 december  2016 Source:   Sportsnet

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PHOENIX — Eric Bledsoe scored 22 points and Devin Booker had nine of his 19 in the fourth quarter, helping the Phoenix Suns beat the Toronto Raptors 99-91 on Thursday night.

The Raptors, in second place in the Eastern Conference, lost consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 20 and 21. Both teams played the second of back-to-back games, with the first being on the road.

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The Raptors trailed for most of the second half and cut a 14-point deficit to 90-85 on a layup by DeMar DeRozan with 3:25 to play in the fourth quarter. But the Suns hung on, winning for just the second time in eight games. They have won back-to-back home games for the second time this season.

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DeRozan and Kyle Lowry scored 24 points apiece for the Raptors.

Booker made a layup and a free throw, then a 3-pointer on the next possession to give the Suns a 96-85 lead with 1:51 to play. The Raptors were too far behind to catch up.

The Suns went ahead 58-50 on Tyson Chandler’s dunk off a lob from Booker with 4:55 left in the third quarter. They took a 12-point lead less than a minute later on T.J. Warren’s jumper, making the score 62-50.

With the Raptors struggling at both ends, Phoenix went up 72-58 on Booker’s layup with 46 seconds left in the quarter. Warren’s 10-foot floater at the third-quarter buzzer had the Suns in front 76-62.

The Suns led 12-4 and the Raptors started the game shooting 1 for 10. But Toronto went on a 14-4 run over the last 5:04 of the first quarter and led 18-16 when it ended, despite making just 6 of 18 shots.

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Phoenix led by as many as five in the second quarter but only 42-40 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Raptors: F Patrick Patterson left the game in the first half with a strained left knee and did not return. He played 8 1/2 minutes and did not score. … F DeMarre Carroll started back-to-back games for the first time this season. The Raptors played their sixth back-to-back set. … The Raptors are 5-20 against Phoenix since Dec. 26, 2004.

Suns: G Tyler Ulis matched his season and career high with 10 points in 15 minutes … Phoenix is 1-4 in the second of back-to-back games this season. … The 40 points was an opponent season-low allowed by the Suns in a first half. … F Jared Dudley missed his third straight game, not playing per coach’s decision.

FIESTA TIME

With the Fiesta Bowl college football playoff game two days away, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney attended Thursday night’s game. His Tigers face Ohio State in nearby Glendale, Arizona.

DUNK CHAMP

The Raptors’ Terrence Ross got a steal and dunked at the other end with no one back on defence, giving the former NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion a chance to fly high for the crowd. Ross’ jam came with 1.2 seconds left in the first quarter and gave Toronto an 18-16 lead.

ASSIST MAN

Bledsoe had 10 assists, two on lobs for dunks. He fed Chandler for one in the first quarter and Marquese Chriss for another in the fourth, the latter giving the Suns a 78-65 lead.

UP NEXT

Raptors: At the Los Angeles Lakers on New Year’s Day, the fifth of a six-game road swing against Western Conference teams.

Suns: At Utah on New Year’s Eve, the first of a two-game road trip.

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