Lowry, Raptors hold off Suns, spoil Watson's coaching debut
PHOENIX (AP) Kyle Lowry scored 26 points, including five 3-pointers, DeMar DeRozan added 22 points and the Toronto Raptors held off Phoenix 104-97 Tuesday night, spoiling the debut of Suns interim coach Earl Watson.
The Raptors, whose franchise-record 11-game losing streak ended Monday night in Denver, led the entire second half but had to hold on at the finish.
Markieff Morris had 30 points and 11 rebounds, both season highs, for the Suns, who fired coach Jeff Hornacek on Monday and promoted the 36-year-old Watson to the interim job. Phoenix rookie Devin Booker added 27 points, matching his career best with six 3s. Archie Goodwin had 18 points and a career-best 12 assists for the Suns, who have lost five in a row and 20 of their last 22.
Terrence Ross scored 16 and Jonas Valanciunas 14 for Toronto in the Raptors' second stop on a six-game road trip.
Morris scored 14 in the first quarter and Goodwin banked in a 35-footer at the buzzer to give Phoenix a 32-28 lead after one. It didn't last long.
Ross scored five and Bismack Biyombo four in a 15-1 run that put the Raptors up 46-35 with 4:23 left in the half, and they never trailed again. The Suns scored the next eight to cut the lead to 46-43 but two late baskets by DeRozan gave Toronto a 52-45 lead at the break.
Phoenix almost caught the Raptors with an 8-0 spurt in the third quarter, Mirza Teletovic's 3-pointer cutting Toronto's lead to 71-70 with 2:50 left in the period. But the Raptors outscored the Suns 7-1 the rest of the quarter.
Phoenix made it interesting late when Booker's driving layup cut Toronto's lead to 99-94 with 1:59 to play but DeRozan sank his only 3-pointer of the night with 51.9 seconds to play and the Raptors held on from there.
Raptors: Toronto improved to 7-8 in the second of back-to-back games. ... James Johnson sat out the game after spraining his left ankle Monday night in Denver. ... On Tuesday, Lowry and DeRozan were named Eastern Conference co-players of the month for January. ... Lowry made four of his first five 3-point tries.
Suns: Goodwin's previous career best in assists was six. ... Newly hired assistant coach Bob Hill was on the bench. ... T.J. Warren is out for the season with a broken right foot. ... Phoenix opened a seven-game home stand. ... At 36, Watson is the youngest coach in the NBA, three months younger than Houston interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
Raptors: At Portland on Thursday.
Suns: Host Houston on Thursday.