Phoenix Suns
Suns to take on motivated Raptors (Jan 22, 2017)
Phoenix Suns

Suns to take on motivated Raptors (Jan 22, 2017)

Published Jan. 22, 2017 2:49 a.m. ET

TORONTO -- The Phoenix Suns will not have much time to enjoy their win over the New York Knicks on Saturday night.

They must deal with what figures to be a motivated Toronto Raptors team on Sunday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre.

While the Raptors had Saturday off, the Suns earned the 107-105 victory in New York on a 3-pointer by Devin Booker with 31 seconds to play. They then watched as Carmelo Anthony's 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Knicks rolled around the rim and fell out.

Booker had 26 points for the Suns (14-29), who ended a two-game skid.


"The kid's tough," Suns center Tyson Chandler said of Booker. "That kid's really tough. He wants that moment."

Booker scored a team-record 28 points in the fourth quarter last week in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

The second-year guard will be facing one of the better guard tandems in the NBA at Toronto in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan

The Raptors (28-15) will have plenty of motivation. They have lost two in a row, including an embarrassing 113-78 loss to the Hornets in Charlotte on Friday. It was the lowest point total this season for the Raptors.

If they needed any more incentive, they lost 99-91 to the Suns in Phoenix on Dec. 29.

The Raptors became film critics on Saturday, going over recent mistakes and there were plenty to view.

"A lot of it is the mental focus more than anything else, more mental fatigue than physical fatigue," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "It's up to us to hold us to hold each other accountable. The players hold each other accountable, we're holding them accountable as a coaching staff.

"There was nobody spared in the film session, that's the way it should be because everybody had mistakes (Friday) night."

The Raptors will know more on Sunday if a couple of injured players will be ready to play.

Patrick Patterson has missed five straight games and nine of the last 11 with a strained left knee in a game at Phoenix, after injuring his left knee at a game in Phoenix.

Lucas Nogueira has missed the past two losses under the NBA's concussion protocol.

Both will be examined Sunday before receiving clearance to play in the game against the Suns.

"We'll find out tomorrow where guys are and how their bodies feel," Casey said.

They are also working in Jared Sullinger, who has only played two games this season because of a foot injury.

"We've been in a little funk lately," Lowry said after the loss on Friday "We're not playing on all cylinders right now. I just think it's that time of year. No excuses at all, there's just this mental fatigue. We are playing some teams that are hungry right now and are playing well."

The Raptors shot only 33.7 percent from the field Friday.

"That's when your defense has to pick back up," Casey said. "Your defense has to carry you until your offense comes back around. You go through that during the season. The most important thing is we have to stay together, stay positive."

Defense was only on the mind of Suns coach Earl Watson when he talked about Suns guard/forward P.J. Tucker.

The thing about defense is there's no perfect technique," Watson said. "It's all on intensity, passion, toughness and a lot of heart. (Tucker) plays with that every time he touches the court. He is one of our best players. To me, he is the most underrated defender in our league, especially on isolations."


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