Following their first win of the season, the Toronto Raptors finally have reason to feel good about themselves.
Toronto tries to make it two straight when it opens a four-game road trip against the Phoenix Suns.
Power forward Chris Bosh scored a season-high 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Raptors to a 107-94 win over the Miami Heat on Sunday night. The victory ended the worst start in Toronto’s 11-year history and its longest losing streak since a 12-game slide from Dec. 18, 2002-Jan. 10, 2003.
“The mood always lightens after a win. People are nicer, the food tastes better, practice is a lot more fun,” said Bosh, who recorded his seventh straight double-double and eighth of the season, tying him for the NBA lead.
The Raptors had been outrebounded 398-336 in the first nine games, but rookie Charlie Villanueva’s 12 boards helped Toronto outrebound the Heat 47-39.
“I’m happy for those guys. Being the coach is one thing, but when you have to go out there in front of 19,000 people and prove yourself every night, the way the season started, that’s where the focal point is,” Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. “I get mine after the game, but during the game, those guys have to go out there and be the focal point and hear the cheers and the boos.”
While the Raptors are coming off a much-needed win, the Suns suffered a 97-91 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.
Phoenix held the defending champions to a season-low 40.7 percent shooting from the field, but was outrebounded 17-8 on the offensive glass which translated to second chances for the Spurs.
The Suns have been outrebounded in every game this season and 441-366 overall.
Phoenix boasts the top offense in the NBA with 105 points per game, but only managed a season-low 91 points on Saturday.
“That’s why we lost—because our offense wasn’t high octane,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We also played one of the best, if not the best, defenses. We fought and we had chances to win, but we couldn’t get it done.”
The Suns, already without star forward Amare Stoudemire until midseason, took another blow when point guard Leandro Barbosa sprained his left MCL at the end of the first half. Barbosa, expected to miss two to three weeks, was averaging a team-leading 18.7 points in the last six games.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 21): Raptors - 5th place, 5 GB, Atlantic Division. Suns - 3rd place, 3 1/2 GB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Raptors - Bosh, 20.2 ppg and 11.4 rpg; Jose Calderon, 6.3 apg. Suns - Marion, 18.7 ppg and 12.6 rpg; Nash, 11.2 apg.
2004-05 SEASON SERIES: Suns, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: January 30; Suns, 123-105. At Toronto, Marion, Nash and Quentin Richardson all recorded double-doubles to lead the Suns to the rout.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Raptors - 0-3 on the road; Suns - 2-4 at home.