Raptors hang on to top Suns
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - DeMar DeRozan poured in a game-high 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds as the Toronto Raptors held on to beat the Phoenix Suns, 101-97, on Friday.
Toronto led, 95-89, after Mickael Pietrus' 3-pointer at the 5:49 mark, but a Sebastian Telfair layup and a Jermaine O'Neal dunk pulled the Suns within 95-93.
After Amir Johnson split a pair of free throws, Shannon Brown's layup pulled the Suns within 96-95 with 2 1/2 minutes to go. Kyle Lowry's pass sailed out of bounds and the Suns took over with 51.4 ticks left.
Luis Scola missed a spinning hook shot and Marcin Gortat's tip-in rolled off the rim, but Phoenix was able to secure the rebound and quickly called a timeout with 33 seconds to play.
Scola took the ball on the left wing and posted up Andrea Bargnani. Scola faked a spin to his left, took a dribble to his right and put up a leaning jumper that rimmed out. Scola appeared to be fouled on the play, but the whistles remained silent.
Lowry was then fouled, but the Villanova product went just 1-for-2 from the line to give the Suns another chance.
Brown took the ball at the top of the key, took a dribble to his left, then attacked the basket, but couldn't get the layup to go.
A pair of Bargnani free throws sealed it for the Raptors.
"It felt good," Lowry said of the victory. "We definitely needed it mentally. We definitely needed it before we went on this tough road trip."
Johnson finished with 16 points and six boards and Lowry 15 points and seven rebounds for the Raptors, who snapped a six-game skid.
Jared Dudley, Brown and Gortat each scored 14 and Goran Dragic had 13 points, five assists and five rebounds for the Suns, losers in three of their last four.
"I thought that we played well and that the game could have gone both ways," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "They made plays at the end of the game. I thought we did a great job moving the ball tonight, we just didn't make plays at the end of the game."
Phoenix led, 25-19, after the first quarter, but Toronto shot a blistering 72.2 percent from the floor, including a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range, to pull within 52-51 at the break.
The Raptors outscored the Suns 29-24 in the third to take an 80-76 lead into the final period.
Toronto was 8-for-14 from 3-point range ... The Raptors had 17 second-chance points and held the Suns to four ... There were 11 lead changes and eight ties ... Markieff Morris was the only Suns starter not to post a double-digit scoring effort. He finished with eight points.
12/01 02:01:16 ET