Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rare home loss for Raptors

TORONTO—Kyle Lowry sat at his locker nursing a headache in the moments after the Toronto Raptors’ loss yesterday—the product of a misplaced knee.
The Raptors were thoroughly dismantled by a speedy Phoenix Suns’ team in a 121-113 loss, but Lowry and coach Dwane Casey insisted there would be no lingering pain after a rare defeat at home.

“It’s not a systemic problem, it’s one game, we knew we weren’t going to go undefeated the rest of the way,” Casey stressed.
“That team right there [Phoenix], they’re fighting for their playoff lives like we are, and they’re a quality team in the west,” he added.
“It’s not like it’s the end of the world.”
Lowry scored 19 of his 28 points in the third quarter against the run-and-gun Suns, but his stand-out effort wasn’t enough as the Raptors (37-28) lost at the Air Canada Centre for just the fifth time in the last 16 games.
There were some scary moments with about a minute-and-a-half to go when Lowry went down in a scramble for a loose ball, and was plowed in the head by first one of PJ Tucker’s knees and then the other.
“I’ve got a headache . . . these [TV camera] lights are killing me right now,” Lowry said, shrugging off any suggestion of a concussion.
“PJ’s not a dirty guy, I’ve known him for a while,” Lowry added. “He even apologized after the game. . . .
“He’s a strong dude so it hurt.”
Terrence Ross finished with 22 points while Amir Johnson had 20, DeMar DeRozan finished with 17, and Jonas Valanciunas chipped in with 15.
Gerald Green scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter to top the Suns (38-27) while Goran Dragic added 19.
The Raptors had been red-hot the past several weeks—positioning themselves for their first playoff appearance in six seasons.
They had gone an Eastern Conference-best 11-3 since Feb. 10 heading into yesterday’s game and sat first place in the Atlantic Division.
But the hungry Suns also have the playoffs in their sights. They went into yesterday trailing Memphis by a 1.5 games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
“That’s a helluva team right there,” DeRozan said. “[We can] just learn from it.
“We battled, a lot of stuff didn’t go our way,” he added. “It was just a tough night overall.”
The Suns out-ran the Raptors all afternoon, and led by as much as 14 points before taking a 96-90 advantage into the fourth in front of a crowd of 18,717 energetic fans at the Air Canada Centre.
Rebounding also proved problematic for the Raptors all afternoon, with Suns owning a whopping 45-26 advantage on the boards.
“Again, no time to panic,” Casey said.
“I don’t think we’re going to see that type of speed and quickness—at least I hope not—the rest of the way,” he added.

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