It was Toronto’s bench that did most of the damage, with Telfair playing the entire second and fourth quarters and Alan Anderson providing some much-needed second-unit offence. The Raptors were so comfortable, Casey went to a lineup never seen before —Telfair, Lucas, Ross, Anderson and Jonas Valanciunas late in the fourth quarter. “We want to make sure we stay on a mission but it was great to get those young guys quality minutes — they played the whole second quarter almost so it was quality minutes at that point,” said the coach.
Sebastian Telfair had some extra incentive in his return to Phoenix for the first time since the Suns traded him to Toronto last month. Telfair, who had played in only one game with the Raptors, scored 13 points to help Toronto cruise to a 98-71 win over Phoenix on Wednesday night. “I love playing in Phoenix,” Telfair said. “I love the city, the fans. I learned a lot here and grew as a person. But I had to leave my kids. My kids are back here in school so, yeah, it is personal.”
The end result was Telfair posting 13 points, seven assists and four steals in 26:38 of playing time off of the bench. Just for the record, Lucas hasn’t posted seven assists in a game at all this season. I’m sure the reason Casey went with Telfair in this game is because the point guard was fired up to face his former team, and I know putting up good numbers in a blowout win over this Suns team means next to nothing, but Telfair should be given a chance to be this team’s backup point guard over the final 20 games since, you know, he’s the only other actual point guard on the team after Lowry. Hopefully we see him before Lucas on Friday night in L.A.
A three-game winning streak went to the Phoenix Suns players’ heads. And as Phoenix fell at home, 98-71, in a blowout loss on Wednesday night to the Toronto Raptors, coach Lindsey Hunter’s biggest worry before the game – a five-day break doing more bad than good – became very real. “We won three close games, I felt like that had a lot to do with how we came out,” forward Michael Beasley said. “We practiced hard for four days straight but that winning streak pumped us up.” As a result, the Suns came crashing down.
It was the Raptors who woke up to win the game while the Suns never looked right. In fact, for the second time this season, the Suns needed a final-possession score to keep from putting up a franchise-low 68 points. Last time it was Wesley Johnson with the putback slam. This time, it was Marcus Morris with a 3 from the corner. So much for four days off. Pregame, Lindsey Hunter responded, “We’ll see” when I asked if the long break off a 3-game winning streak would have the young team feeling a little too good about themselves.
Sebastian Telfair came out firing against his former team, potting 10 points and dishing out 4 assists as the Raptors jumped out to a 14-point first half lead. Toronto was able to extend that advantage throughout the game, as Suns center Marcin Gortat came down with a fluke foot injury in the first quarter and was out for the game. Gortat had 8 points in 11 minutes at the time and is the Suns’ leading rebounder. The game turned into a blowout in the fourth, and gosh darn it I wish Quincy Acy were still on the team.
While it’s a little understandable in theory that Bargnani would get more minutes when Amir Johnson gets into foul trouble (as he often does), the GameFlow charts at Popcorn Machine show a different story. Take Monday night at Golden State: for most of the second half, Bargnani and Johnson were on the floor. The same goes for Saturday’s game against Milwaukee. Maybe if the Raptors were still contending and winning games, Andrea spending 30+ minutes on the floor and not producing wouldn’t be a big deal. But they’re not. This season is basically a lost cause. And as Bargnani spends time on the floor, Toronto’s two rookies are sitting on the bench.