NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 16th (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Suns (37-28) at Toronto Raptors (37-27), 1 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors have been playing great basketball of late and will try to continue that form Sunday afternoon when they welcome the Phoenix Suns to the Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors have won two straight, five of six, eight of 10 and 11 of 14. They sit atop the Atlantic Division by four games over the Brooklyn Nets and are third in the Eastern Conference.
On Friday night, Toronto earned its second straight victory with a 99-86 win at home over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Jonas Valanciunas netted 23 points, including four in a late Toronto tear that helped the Raptors to victory.
"It's more important that we won and not look at my game," Valanciunas said. "We have to win. We played good and we won."
A Mike Miller free throw tied the game with 6:24 to play, but the Grizzlies went the next five-plus minutes without a point, allowing the Raptors to run away with the contest.
Greivis Vasquez sparked the burst with five straight points before Valanciunas added a pair of buckets around a DeMar DeRozan 3-pointer to give Toronto a 92-80 cushion with 2:34 remaining, essentially sealing the outcome.
Vasquez finished with 17 points, DeRozan scored 16 and Kyle Lowry registered 22 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds for the Raptors, who are 2-0 on this short homestand.
The Suns started a three-game road trip with a much-needed win in Boston over the Celtics. Phoenix prevailed, 87-80, to halt a three-game losing streak.
Goran Dragic had 20 points, while Eric Bledsoe added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns. Markieff Morris tallied 15 points and nine boards and P.J. Tucker donated 11 points, 10 rebounds and five steals.
The Suns shot 42.5 percent from the field and 19.2 percent from long range. But, Phoenix held the C's to 30.9 percent from the floor and under 15 percent from the 3-point line.
Friday's game marked the first time in the last 10 the Suns held a team under 100 points.
"I think we're re-figuring out how hard it is to get wins in the NBA, regardless of what team it is," said Phoenix big man Channing Frye. "A win is a win and we're just going to build on this and continue to move forward."
The Suns are 4-7 in their last 11 and have fallen out of the playoff race in the Western Conference. Phoenix is a game behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth spot.
The Suns will visit Brooklyn on Monday to finish this trip.
Phoenix bested the Raptors at home on Dec. 6 to halt a three-game series losing streak. Toronto won in Canada last season to put the brakes on a seven- game home slide against the Suns.
03/16 10:28:48 ET