Raptors bounce back with well-deserved win over Suns

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It was the only answer that would have been acceptable.

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Called a night earlier by their head coach for their effort, the Raptors responded with one of their most aggressive and complete games of the season in a 113-104 win.

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The fact that he came against a Suns team that arrived in Toronto having lost four of five and in similar desperation mode to the Raptors made him all the more special.

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It was the Raptors’ first home win since Dec. 7, when they took on the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Raptors were still without the services of point guard Fred VanVleet and the boost expected from the return of Precious Achiuwa proved premature, meaning it all hinged on the very people who had had their efforts questioned the night before.

Nurse reverted to a more traditional starting five with Gary Trent Jr. returning to his previous role and he answered the bell at both ends of the court with a team and personal season-high tying 35 points, including 18 in third trimester. , and joined the rest of his teammates in bringing back their season-long penchant for turning opponents over.

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Trent Jr. was one of three Raptors to have at least three interceptions in the game, joining Scottie Barnes and Thad Young, who had four returning to the rotation after not seeing the ground at all during the loss on Thursday.

Those 10 steals were part of a record 27 forced turnovers by the Raptors.

The game was by no means a walk in the park for the Raptors, but the smiles finally came with just over two minutes to play when rookie Christian Koloko drained a three from the corner that had all of the Raptors in uniform. smiling from ear to ear.

Not only were they thrilled for their young teammate who had his share of struggles, but those three balls turned a three-point lead into a five-point lead.

Koloko finished with eight points on the night, but those three and a trip to the foul line on the next possession, which saw him hit one of the two, was enough to keep this one in the backbone. wins for the Raptors.

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The Suns were also without a number of key players, none greater than Devin Booker who is the team’s leading scorer.

Add in Cam Johnson and Cameron Payne also unable to answer the bell, leaving veteran Chris Paul as the only healthy point guard on the roster.

None of that mattered to the Raptors who came out determined to stop the bleeding and end the year on a winning note.

Mission accomplished.


The losses are piling up, the smiles and the good times are fewer and fewer. Everything is questioned, from the efforts of the players to the schemes of the coaching staff to how the roster was put together by management. Nobody is safe when you’ve lost 11 of the last 15.

So, in the midst of a back-to-back streak with no practice time in between, Nick Nurse gathered his troops for the daily movie session.

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As bad as Thursday’s loss in a tough game with Memphis was, there was no soft pedal the day after Nurse.

During a 20-minute session on Friday, which would have been much, much longer had another game not been scheduled for the same day, Nurse’s voice was the only one in the room.

« I’m probably not going to be on the soft side of saying, ‘It was just a one night thing. “I will show them the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m going to show them that I don’t back down from any of this stuff. I will show them what they need to improve. It’s the only way I think I can teach them.


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