Valanciunas leads Raptors over Suns 104-100
TORONTO -- The Phoenix Suns used a long range barrage to give the Raptors a fourth-quarter scare, but Toronto held firm for its fifth straight win.
Jonas Valanciunas had a career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan added 23 points and the Raptors beat the Suns 104-100 Monday night.
Phoenix made seven of 10 3-point attempts in final quarter, rallying from a 17-point deficit to briefly take the lead.
"We can be down 20 points in the fourth quarter and can still win," Suns forward P.J. Tucker said. "There's no such thing as putting us away."
Toronto found that out the hard way, capitalizing on several key hustle plays down the stretch to keep their winning streak intact.
"Those guys came back extremely hard in the fourth quarter and made a lot of shots," said Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who forced a steal and then won a pivotal jump ball in the final minute.
Lou Williams scored 17, Lowry had 14 and Terrence Ross added 13 for the Raptors, who improved 9-1 at home and 4-0 against Western Conference opponents.
Eric Bledsoe scored 25 points and Markieff Morris had 17 for the Suns, whose four-game winning streak was snapped. Phoenix had not lost since the opening game of their six-game road trip, Nov. 15 against the Clippers.
"We went on the road and played above .500," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "That's pretty good."
Isaiah Thomas scored 12 of his 16 in the fourth quarter and Gerald Green had 13 for Phoenix, but made a costly turnover in the final seconds.
Toronto's Chuck Hayes scored the opening basket of the fourth quarter to give the Raptors a 17-point lead, 83-66. Hornacek called timeout, and his team responded with a 14-0 run over the next two minutes, including three straight 3-pointers by Thomas.
Valanciunas stopped the run with a hook shot after rebounding Lowry's miss, and Williams added a fast break dunk to push Toronto's lead back to seven, 87-80.
Thomas hit his fourth 3-pointer of the fourth at 3:35 to bring Phoenix to within one at 94-93, and a pair of free throws by Bledsoe 30 seconds later gave the Suns their first lead since the opening quarter.
Baskets by DeRozan and Lowry restored Toronto's lead, but Bledsoe converted a three-point play at 1:52 to tie it at 98.
Offensive rebounds by Patrick Patterson and DeRozan helped extend a Toronto possession that ended with Patterson breaking the tie with a pair of free throws with 34 seconds left.
After a Phoenix timeout, Thomas nearly lost the ball at midcourt, with him and Lowry eventually meeting for a jump ball. An acrobatic play by Ross helped the Raptors keep the ball inbounds, and DeRozan made a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left, stretching Toronto's lead to four.
Bledsoe answered with a pair from the line, but DeRozan sealed it with two more free throws with five seconds remaining. Green lost the ball out of bounds on the next possession, denying the Suns a final shot.
"We found a way down the stretch and that's the most important thing," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
Raptors forward James Johnson returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sprained right ankle, but went scoreless in four minutes of playing time.
Valanciunas scored 15 in the first as the Raptors rallied from an early seven-point deficit to lead 29-26 after one quarter.
"He was just powering it in on us," Hornacek said of Valanciunas. "We didn't have an answer for him."
Suns guard Tyler Ennis, who was born in suburban Toronto, had approximately 180 friends and family in the crowd for his first professional visit to Canada. Unfortunately for Ennis and his party, the rookie was inactive against the Raptors.
Bruce Heyman, the US Ambassador to Canada, watched from a courtside seat. At halftime, Heyman posed for a photo with another celebrity guest, Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic, then posted the picture on Twitter.
Suns: Phoenix didn't shoot its first free throws until 3:26 of the second, when Markieff Morris made one of two after a foul by Lowry. ... The Suns lost for just the second time in 10 visits to Toronto.
Raptors: Williams, who scored a career-high 36 in Saturday's win over the Cavaliers, was named Eastern Conference player of the week. It's the first time he's won the award. ... F Tyler Hansbrough (right shoulder) missed his third straight game.
Suns: Host Denver on Wednesday.
Raptors: At Hawks on Wednesday.
Regular Season Series
TOR leads 1-0
- Tony Brown
- Monty McCutchen
- Leon Wood
2022-23 Pacific Standings
2022-23 Atlantic Standings