Brooks sparks Suns to 114-106 win over Raptors
Thursday, March 24, 2011; 1:32 AM
PHOENIX -- Aaron Brooks energized a tired, ailing Phoenix Suns team with 25 points, and the Phoenix Suns rallied from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Toronto Raptors 114-106 Wednesday night.
Brooks hit the biggest shot of the game, a 3-pointer from the left corner with 54.9 seconds left to play that gave the Suns a 110-105 lead. It came after Phoenix grabbed the lead for good with 2:14 left, on a Jared Dudley's 3-pointer.
The Suns, playing the second of back-to-back set games only about 20 hours after a triple-overtime road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, struggled with their shooting until late in the game and played shorthanded throughout.
Starting guard Grant Hill left the game midway through the first quarter with flu-like symptoms and reserve forward Mickael Pietrus played two minutes and 24 seconds of the first before leaving with a sprained right knee.
Neither player returned, and the Suns missed their best defensive player in Hill. But the Raptors hit a cold spell in the second half with their shooting that allowed the Suns back into the game.
The win allowed the Suns (36-34) to keep pace with Memphis in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, as the Suns remained three games behind the Grizzlies for the eighth seed. Five other Suns scored in double figures, including guard Steve Nash with 16 points.
Andrea Bargnani scored 27 points and DeMar DeRozan added 19 to lead the Raptors.
Channing Frye's 3-pointer with eight minutes to play gave the Suns a 93-92 lead.
The Raptors' Jose Calderon threw an alley-oop assist to forward Ed Davis for a dunk three seconds before halftime to give Toronto a 61-55 lead at the intermission.
The Raptors began the second half just how they ended the first, with Calderon lobbing to DeRozan for a dunk. Bargnani's three at the 4:34 mark of the third quarter gave the Raptors their biggest lead of the night, 82-69.
The Suns rallied behind Brooks, who scored nine of the team's final 13 points of the third quarter, including a layup off a steal just before buzzer that tied the score at 86 going into the fourth.
NOTES: The Suns' bench totaled 61 points, led by Brooks. ... The Suns first lead of the game was 6-4 and they didn't take another lead until Frye's 3. ... The Suns extended their winning streak to 14 consecutive games over Toronto, their longest active victory streak over any opponent.