Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee – Nov 16

Raps take it on the chin | Toronto Sun

Toronto led by as many as 10 points in the opening half and led throughout until Andrea Bargnani picked up a very careless foul in the second minute of the final period.

When he left, the Raptors were leading 84-79.

When he re-appeared five minutes later, the Raptors were trailing 91-87.

Adding to Toronto's inefficiency was its inability to protect the basketball, especially in the open court.

Jarrett Jack struggled again and had more turnovers (three) than points (two).

Raps Replay | Toronto Sun

There's no disputing Andrea Bargnani's ability to light it up from the outside. The seven-footer is so skilled that he'll take defenders off the dribble. But he has to somehow get tougher in the paint defending his man. On Phoenix's first possession, Amare Stoudemire just bullied his way toward the basket and dunked over a hapless Bargnani. Putting a body on an opponent is just as important as beating him to the spot. Bargnani did neither.

Doug Smith’s Toronto Raptors blog

I am certain – and it’s mainly because I’ve had an e-mail or two on it already – that there are those out there who take exception to the offence they ran in the final 38 seconds of that game.

Let me ask you this:

When Turkoglu took the three, and when he took the shot at the buzzer, did anyone think there was a better idea? The three was an open look on an obvious two-for-one situation that went about halfway down and back out. The two came off a switch, was a relatively uncontested 20-footers and when it left his hand, it looked good.

The only thing I might have done differently was run high screen and roll rather than some action on the side so there’d be a better chance at penetration and a drive-and-kick but if they end up with two good looks by Turkoglu in the last 30 seconds of one-point games the rest of the season, I’m sure they’d be quite happy with that.

Raptors let one slip away –

Turkoglu got the match-up he wanted, isolated at the top of the key on Amare Stoudemire, but his 20-footer bounced off the rim and out, ending arguably the best 48-minute game the Raptors have played this season.

"It was the shot I just made a couple of minutes ago in the left corner, it's a shot I'll always take," said Turkoglu, who had a three-pointer go in and out on Toronto's previous possession.

"It went good out of my hands. My three was in and out and the second one was a little bit hard."

But it was exactly the shot the Raptors wanted.

Ball back in Nash’s hands – The Globe and Mail

Nash finished with 23 points and nine assists, though the Raptors made him work for it. He shot just 1-for-6 from the three-point line and 10-for-21 from the field. Still, the Suns are 9-2 and have the best record in the NBA with Nash in charge.

Stoudemire led all scorers with 30 points while Chris Bosh had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto. Turkoglu finished with 20 points and put the Raptors ahead with a long three-point shot and a long two in the final 90 seconds, but missed two more shots down the stretch that would have given the Raptors the win.

So the Suns survived and Nash is thriving – not too bad for a guy who was supposed to be on the downside of a career, his back-to-back most valuable player heights attributable, critics suggested, to the system he was playing in rather than his own abilities.

Raptors Report: Week Three Ends In Heartbreak | Bleacher Report

This squad is really starting to come together. The defense is actually improving, Jose Calderon has played MUCH better, Chris Bosh has still been unreal, and they overall have shown a lot of grit. Andrea Bargnani is finally starting to be a consistent offensive player.Offensively, Hedo Turkoglu is starting to come in to play hitting big shots and helping us down the stretch. Coming back from 22 is a sign of a good team.

Suns escape with win vs. Raptors – Arizona Republic

The Suns shot just 44.9 percent, but Stoudemire bounced back from a 2-for-15 shooting performance Thursday at the Los Angeles Lakers, making 10 of 15 shots and scoring 30 points.

"It was a matter of the fatigue not being a factor," Stoudemire said.

Stoudemire also had eight rebounds, but Jason Richardson led the Suns on the boards for a third time this season with 10 rebounds.

Defense appeared to be optional early in the game. Both teams thrive on the same system of outscoring, outshooting and outrunning teams.

"Even in practice, we have trouble defending it," Gentry said. Suns continue hot streak with victory over Raptors

"Wow!" Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.

"A really, really good win.

"They present so many problems for you. "They are a lot like us. They have guys who can screen and go to the basket…They have shooters all around."

Beforehand, coach Jay Triano wondered, "We really haven't faced anybody like this, where there are similar styles…spread it out and have lots of guys who can create. It will be interesting to see."

It was.

Nuggets’ Carter, three others dealing with injuries – The Denver Post

The Nuggets face a potent Raptors unit that played Sunday night against Phoenix. A retooled roster added free-agent sharpshooter Hedo Turkoglu in the offseason to a lineup featuring star forward Chris Bosh, blossoming star Andrea Bargnani and crafty guard Jose Calderon.

"I haven't studied them a lot, but offensively they are a very effective team," Karl said. "They score, per possession, maybe in the top five in basketball. Bosh is having an incredible year. His touches are high effectiveness."

As for Bargnani, Karl said, "Anytime you've got a 7-footer that can shoot it or drive it and make good decisions at both, it's pretty important."

Suns 101, Raptors 100 — Thaaat close| Valley of the Suns

The Suns knew the final play could come down to the clutch Turkoglu, so head coach Alvin Gentry subbed Grant Hill in for Amare (Dudley had been playing small forward), so they could switch with Hill on the screen. After an initial switch put Hill on Turkoglu, the Raptors — correctly figuring the Suns would switch everything — picked Hill with Andrea Bargnani to put Frye on Hedo for the final shot.

Turkoglu, who had drilled a pair of clutch buckets in the final minutes, lost the ball allowing Frye a split second extra to get up on him and then just clanked a step back jumper from 20 feet out. If you watch the replay, you can see an irate Gentry screaming at the official about a double dribble call, but in the end it didn’t matter with the Suns walking off victorious.

Suns Survive Raptor Attack,101-100 – Bright Side Of The Sun

This display of offensive prowess was keyed by several things. First, Toronto began rushing their shots and were unable to find open looks, thanks to the new and improved Phoenix defense. Second, Amare began to attack the basket and picked up a three point play.

Finally, the hustle of Jason Richardson allowed him to score on consecutive fast break layups that brought the crowd to their feet and forced the Raptors to take a timeout.

Throughout the final quarter, the Suns began aggressively switching their men on screens, playing hard defense to disrupt the Raptors offense and force Hedo Turkoglu, Jose Calderon, and Marco Belinelli to take contested shots.

Blinkx Video: Suns Continue Dominance Of Raptors

Suns Squeeze By Raptors To Remain Perfect At Home -Posr Chronicle

Hedo Turkoglu twice missed shots in the final 32 seconds that could have given Toronto the win. He finished with 20 points, including five in a row that gave the Raptors a 100-98 lead with 51.5 seconds to play.

"We had two great shots (at the end) which is what we wanted," said Raptors coach Jay Triano. "The three (point attempt by Turkoglu) just went in and out.

"That last shot … was another good look but it just didn't go in. Can't really complain about it."

Raptors Game Recap – The FAN 590 Toronto

THE FAN presents highlights (courtesy Paul Jones) and Eric Smith's game recap of the Suns' 101-100 victory over the Raptors.

Soooooooo Close! : The Picket Fence

I think everyone deserves kudos here, right down to the coaches, who drew up good plays and gave the team a good strategy to follow. I think it was their best defensive effort this season, and although there were a few miscues (like Nash getting a couple of open threes near the end), they never let the Suns go off. Even Bargnani played solid defense most of the game. Nash made some circus shots despite being defended well. Yes, Channing Frye went 6-8 from the three point line, but that was the shot the Raptors were giving the Suns, and he just happen to hit most of them. And most of the time, he had someone in his face, a far cry from when the Raptors were playing the Spurs or Memphis.

FAN590 – Blogs – The Rap » Thriller: Suns Scorch the Raptors

Smith says:
– “Yes, I know, a loss is a loss … but this was a solid game for the Raptors. 6 and 4 would be a lot better right now! But Toronto has to take whatever positives they can from this game and carry a swagger and a positive attitude about who/what they CAN be (with max effort) into Denver.”

Jones Says:
– “A great effort by the Raptors bench in a game that Toronto could have easily won with an extra break or possession in the 4TH quarter.”

Raptors-Suns: Coaching Decision Costs Raptors A Win! « Brothersteve’s Green & Red Raptor Blog

The Raptors had played the Suns even and ahead for the entire game. Ending each quarter with a slight lead. Even when the Suns finally managed to tie the game early in the fourth quarter, the Raptors looked like they were not going to let this game get away.

But for some strange and illogical reason, Jay Triano decided to go back to the worst defensive guard line-up the Raptors have put on the floor this season.

At the 8:28 mark of the fourth quarter with the score tied at 84, Jay Triano substituted in Jose Calderon for Hedo Turkoglu to reunite him with Jarrett Jack. Let the bloodshed begin!

Dino Nation Blog: L To Be Proud Of

It would all come down to a final shot from Hedo who had made 2 clutch 3's down the stretch but he would not make a third. Raps lose a real heart breaker 101-100. But as angry and truly vexed as I was about the eventual win over the Clippers, I am the exact opposite about this game. You may say that is nuts cause the Raptors get L for this game and a W for the other. However this game was a much more complete and better overall effort from Toronto despite the outcome. If they can carry this with them to Denver and Utah they will have a chance to win.

Game In Six – Nov. 15, 2009

Watch the Raptors vs. Suns, all in just six minutes.

Toronto Raptors vs. Phoenix Suns – Box Score – November 15, 2009 – ESPN

The Associated Press: Stoudemire helps Suns beat Raptors

The score was tied at 98 after a 3-pointer by Turkoglu with 1:34 remaining. He followed that with a 23-foot jumper, giving Toronto a 100-98 lead with 51.5 seconds to go. However, Nash came through with a driving layup with 38.9 left and when he was fouled by Jose Calderon he converted the foul shot for the final score.

After a sparkling, breakneck pace in the first period, when the Raptors led 33-31, the speed and the scoring slowed considerably in the second quarter. At halftime, Toronto led 53-50, with the help of 14 points and six rebounds from Bosh.

Nash and Stoudemire, both of whom played poorly in Thursday night's 121-102 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, fared much better against Toronto in the first half. Nash led all scorers with 15 points and all playmakers with six assists. Stoudemire, who shot a miserable 2-for-15 against the Lakers, had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

Raptors fall short against Suns at the buzzer – National Post

For the first time as a Raptor, Turkoglu showed his fourth-quarter mettle. Playing with a hip injury, Turkoglu hit a huge game-tying three-pointer with just more than a minute remaining. One possession later, he hit a jumpshot over Nash to give the Raptors the lead. After Nash's shot, Turkoglu had another three-pointer to give the Raptors the lead, but it rimmed in and out.

And then on the last possession, Turkoglu missed an 18-foot jumper after fumbling the ball off of a pass. Still, he finished with 20 points, to go along with Chris Bosh's 25 points and 10 rebounds. However, none of the Raptors' final four shots were in the paint, somewhat egregious given the calibre of Bosh's play this season.

The Look ahead – The Globe and Mail

let’s see how much damage the Toronto Raptors big men can do against the Denver Nuggets when they meet Tuesday. In Friday’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers, 7-footer Andrew Bynum scored 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, but the Nuggets drove the ball at him and doubled him with Kenyon Martin, and after an eight-point, six-round first quarter took the measure of him. The Nuggest gave up 23 points and 12 rebounds to the Milwaukee Bucks Andrew Bogut on Wednesday ..

Raptors lose 101-100 to Suns despite solid play –

The Raptors did get the pace they wanted in a highly-entertaining first half. Still playing quickly but not out of control, Toronto took a 53-50 lead at the intermission thanks to some good outside shooting and solid defence.

Switching all high screens to force the Suns to try and exploit mismatches on the post they were able to defend with aggressive double-teams, Toronto held Phoenix to just 47.5 per cent shooting, a good number against a high-powered offence.

And with the Raptors shooting 50 per cent from the floor — and getting a nice eight-point contribution off the bench from Marco Belinelli — they were able to control the game almost from the start.

Still the Suns, thought by many to be a mid-level power in the Western Conference at best, had won eight of 10 going into the game against Toronto.

Suns squeeze past Raptors to remain perfect at home | Sports | Reuters

The win was Phoenix's 11th consecutive triumph over the Raptors and improved their NBA-best record to 9-2. Amare Stoudemire paced the Suns, who are 4-0 at home, with 30 points.

Hedo Turkoglu twice missed shots in the final 32 seconds that could have given Toronto the win. He finished with 20 points, including five in a row that gave the Raptors a 100-98 lead with 51.5 seconds to play.

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