Phoenix, AZ - Markieff Morris continued his excellent play off the bench this season to lead the Suns over the Raptors 106-97. With the win the Suns improve to 11-9, and with the speculation that they could be a team looking to “tank” to get themselves into position for one of the enticing rookies coming into the league next season, Phoenix is playing relatively well this season. The Raptors fall to 6-12, a disappointing start for a team with the talent they have.
Morris shot very well, making his first eleven attempts, finishing 11-13 from the field and 3-6 from the free-throw line. His 26 points led the Suns and he also chipped in with 11 rebounds and an assist. Small forward P.J. Tucker struggled with his shot going 4-12 from the field, but he got to the line 10 times, making eight. He finished with 18 points, an impressive 13 rebounds, three assists, and a steal. The guard combo of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic combined for 30 points, 16 for Bledsoe and 14 for Dragic. Bledsoe also dished out seven assists with a rebound and a block. Dragic pulled down five boards and had two assists and a steal. Gerald Green and Marcus Morris both came off the bench to score ten points, including two big threes down the stretch from Green to help the Suns pull away for good.
For Toronto, Amir Johnson came off the bench to takeover for Tyler Hansbrough after he sprained his left shoulder three minutes into the game, leading the Raptors in scoring with 22 points on 9-15 shooting and 4-4 from the line. Johnson also contributed seven rebounds and three blocks and if Hansbrough is going to miss any time, he will be counted on to fill the power forward spot. Point guard Kyle Lowry scored 21 points on 7-16 shooting, 2-6 from three, and 5-6 from the line, to go with seven assists and a rebound. Rudy Gay and Jonas Valanciunas each posted a double-double, with Gay scoring 17 points with 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. Valanciunas scored 11 points with ten rebounds and three assists. Each of them had their troubles shooting however, with Gay going 6-15 and Valanciunas just 4-10. DeMar DeRozan was the only other Raptor in double figures with 13 points as well as three rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
The Raptors did not have a good shooting night, hitting just 26% of their threes and were thoroughly out rebounded, 53-36. Their next game is Sunday night in Los Angeles against the Lakers in the much anticipated return of Kobe Bryant. The Suns’ next game is not until Tuesday, also in LA against the Lakers.
Josh Morgan is a Staff Writer for Hoops-Nation.