Valiant effort not enough as the Toronto Raptors lose to the Phoenix Suns

Nickeem Khan
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Monday, January 30, 2023

This road trip for the Toronto Raptors hasn't been easy so far, and their matchup against the Phoenix Suns further proved that point as they lost 114-106. Another excellent accumulative performance from their starter, however, they received a minimal amount of productivity from their bench, which ended up being the deciding factor.

The first half featured great play for the Suns, as to be expected considering their success at home this season. Mikal Bridges had one of the games of his life, tallying 23 points in the first half alone, before finishing with 29 on the night. Phoenix went into halftime with a nine-point lead.

Although the Suns were getting what seemed to be whatever they wanted, the Raptors came out of the gates a different team. Fred VanVleet made a flurry of finishes at the rim, sparking the momentum for Toronto. Gary Trent Jr. followed suit with a series of shots as the Raptors evaporated the Suns' lead to take control of the game. 

Toronto's backcourt played great basketball once again, VanVleet finished with 24 points, nine assists, and four rebounds, while Trent Jr. added 21 points and three rebounds. With O.G. Anunoby sidelined with a wrist injury, Precious Achiwua continued to fill in that vacancy within the starting lineup and played another excellent game in his newfound role. 

The third-year forward finished with another double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Despite the good that the Raptors displayed in many areas, they weren't able to string enough positives on defence, as the Suns took advantage. 

Deandre Ayton who struggled in the first matchup between the two teams this season had himself a great game. The former top overall pick finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds and simply imposed his will in the interior, displaying just how good he is.

Phoenix's bench played exceptionally combining for 38 points, while Toronto's only finished with 15 points. The three-point line was also not friendly for the road team, as the Raptors went an atrocious 9-33 from beyond the arc.

This loss brings Toronto to 2-2 on their current seven-game road trip. They remain at the 12th seed with a 23-29 record. The next opportunity to turn the course of the season around will be on Wednesday at 9 PM against the well-rested Utah Jazz.