Barbosa, Nash lead way as Suns set seson high in points, beat Toronto 136-123

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TORONTO (AP)—After an “awesome” offensive performance, Phoenix Suns coach Mike D’Antoni wondered whether his team could one day score on every possession. He admits it’s a pipe dream. Opponents might call it a nightmare.

Leandro Barbosa scored 35 points, Canadian star Steve Nash had a season-high 18 assists and the Phoenix Suns set a season high in points, beating the Toronto Raptors 136-123 on Wednesday night.

“Offensively we were just awesome,” D’Antoni said. “They’re a good defensive team. They’ve been holding people to 43 per cent. They’re good, but we just have a lot of weapons.”

Shawn Marion had 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Suns, who have won four straight and 12 of their past 14. Amare Stoudamire had 25 points and six rebounds, failing to record his fourth straight double-double.

“We came out strong,” Stoudamire said. “Shawn did a great job rebounding tonight, Leandro did a great job of shooting, Steve did a great job of distributing. It was an all-around game for us and we got the win.”

Nash scored 10 points in his only appearance of the regular season in Canada, and received a loud ovation during the pregame introductions.

“For me, it’s always nice to win in Canada,” Nash said.

D’Antoni expects the Suns to eclipse the 136 mark before the season is out.

“We should be able to,” he said. “We’ll see. We want to keep getting better and keep people in the flow and get everybody individually good. We’re almost there.

“We’re not rolling yet on all cylinders. I don’t even know if we can or not, it might just be a pipe dream to think we can score every time down. It just doesn’t happen.”

T.J. Ford, who had missed five of the past seven games because of a stinger in his left arm, scored 27 for Toronto, which had won four straight home games. Anthony Parker added 22, and Jose Calderon and Carlos Delfino had 14 points apiece.

Pacific Division-leading Phoenix has won seven straight against Toronto. The Raptors haven’t beaten the Suns since a 101-94 victory at Phoenix on Feb. 10, 2004.

“Our transition defense was just horrible,” Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. “The first four threes Barbosa made, we weren’t near. It’s just lack of communication.”

Barbosa recovered from a 1-for-8 showing in Tuesday night’s win at Indianapolis.

“Last night I didn’t have a good game but today was different,” Barbosa said.

Raptors forward Chris Bosh missed his fourth consecutive game with a strained groin, and forward Andrea Bargnani sat out for the second straight game with a hyperextended left knee.

Without its top two big men, Toronto kept it close for the first 15 minutes and trailed by just one, 37-36, when Nash returned in the second. Boris Diaw made a hook shot and Barbosa sandwiched 3-pointers around a layup by Ford, then added a driving layup to cap a 10-2 run that put the Suns ahead 47-38.

“We had nearly 40 assists for the third game in a row,” Nash said. “When the ball moves, we’re difficult to defend.”

Grant Hill also finished with 17 points and nine assists for Phoenix.

Two 3-pointers by Delfino helped Toronto whittle it down to 61-56 at the half, but Phoenix opened the third with an 11-2 run and didn’t let up, leading by as many as 23.


Barbosa scored a career-high 39 in a Nov. 10 victory at Orlando. … The Raptors are 2-2 in the four games Bosh has missed. … Toronto set season highs in points scored and points allowed.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
L. Barbosa L. Barbosa
14-23,  35 Pts
3 Rebs, 2 Assists
T.J. Ford T.J. Ford
12-19,  27 Pts
2 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders



Wednesday, Dec 5