PHOENIX – Phoenix Suns, and the Phoenix Raptors finally have their muscles in the second half against the Phoenix host result was consistent with big brother-little brother bouts since time began.
The Raptors trailed at the end of the day and started their swing in the early morning swing , and often did not seem too bothered if the Suns hit theirs.
That all changed as a Toronto midway through the third quarter and into the fourth, and the following.
"[There was] No screaming or yelling, "said Raptors guard Fred VanVleet about the Raptors bounce after the intermission. "But there were things we needed to talk about, right? It's a collective, 'Let's get it together and tighten it up.' "
Kawhi Leonard led Toronto with 19 points on 14 shots while adding six rebounds and five assists. He did leave the game with two minutes to go to the left.
"I think it's going to be all right, nothing major," he said. "I just pushed it on and I wanted to get it looked at."
Kyle Lowry had 11 rebounds and 12 assists – tying Damon Stoudemire for consecutive games with double-digit assists at six straight. The Raptors shot 50.6 a cent from the floor and ended up at 12-of-33 from deep as they hit six of their last 10 after shooting just 4-of-17 in the first half. They held the Suns to 44-penny shooting and blocked 10 shots and grabbed 11 steals.
It's beginning to emerge – can do.
Over a five-minute stretch in the third, the Raptors held the Suns to one's fading, shot-clock beating three by the Suns' Devin Booker. Otherwise the Suns found themselves going through a buzzsaw of blocks and deflections leading to three turnovers as the Raptors barely let them get a shot off, let alone score.
On the floor were Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka and Kawhi Leonard, although others filtered through. By the time the quarter was over, the Suns had been held to 19 points, six of them were liturgical threes as Toronto held the Suns to 8-of-24 shooting for the quarter and led 77-71 heading to the fourth.
Raptors head coach Nick. "Raptors head coach Nick said:" I think we're building it here, it's a late third and fourth-quarter defense now Nurse. "And we want to be solid until we get to those points.
Tonight and once we get in that mode, "we keep consecutive stops and I think we have a run of nine consecutive stops."
VanVleet, in his first action since missing four games with a strained big toe, made his presence felt. Normally Powell for a wide open three that pushed the Raptors lead to 91-75.
Then C.J. Miles chipped in with a pair of triples as part of a rapid-fire 20-8 run. Even better for Nurse, some of his team's best play came out of the bench unit which has struggled somewhat through their standards in the early going, but found its spark with VanVleet back, as he finished with eight points and six assists in 20 minutes.
"I think that's probably our best run as a bench unit [all season]"VanVleet said. "We're playing, but he's kind of let's do it." go on an extended run and we were able to build a lead and make some good things happen. "
LeBron James and the Lakers on Sunday, where the eyes of the entire NBA wants to be turned to them.
This time around, it's the Raptors that should be inspiring fear.
In the second half in phoenix, it can be said that a team can do that on both sides of the ball. The more time they have, the better they get.
"Cohesiveness, being together, eating together, doing things together, traveling all the time together, being on the bus together, doing all those types of things," Lowry said about his hopes for the trip. "Just being around each other. That's the part you get from being on the road. "
The Suns are a team that one day may not be good, but that day is not at hand. Even with draft lottery picks – this will be a lot in flux.
This time a year ago they are firing their head three games into the season. Jay Triano in favor of rookie head coach Igor Kokoskov, and then they fired the general manager who hired him before the season even started. The first European head coach in NBA history looks like he has not slept in a week.
There are pieces, but the puzzle seems like it's been sweeping off the table and onto the floor at the moment. 22-year-old Booker and 20-year-old Deandre Ayton, the agile seven-foot-one Bahamian who was the No.1 pick in the June draft.
Jonas Valanciuna's baseline turnaround was Ayton's ascent with 17 points and 18 rebounds. Booker, in his first game back after missing three with a hamstring pull needed 20 shots for 18 points.
They play fast – like everyone in the NBA today – and they'll loose as their 18 turnovers a game would indicate. And they are ranked 28th in the NBA in that category.
In the early days, it's the Raptors who failed to take advantage. Lowry did what he could to get his steam rolling. He made points out of thin air as he got through the paint to grab an offensive rebound.
Later, after Danny Green missed a fast break-up – Toronto screwed up a couple of those – it was Lowry, playing his 800th career game, who stole the ball after the Suns rebounded it and pitched it out for a Green Three.
But even with those swing plays Toronto seemed clunky. Suns defense, and even though they forced six turnovers they were trailing 28-23.
Leonard, making his first road start of the season, what he guessed in the second quarter as he found his way back to the second quarter. Isaiah Canaan made the mistake of trying to make his body on him.
The Suns finished the work on a 7-2 run, however, leaving Toronto some work to do
When it mattered, they got it done.