Wednesday , Jan , 03 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Suns edge Raptors

Toronto, ON (Sports Network) – Steve Nash scored 15 points, 13 of which came
in the fourth quarter, and dished out nine assists to lead the Phoenix Suns
past the Toronto Raptors, 100-98, at Air Canada Centre.

Raja Bell had 17 points while Amare Stoudemire netted 15 and grabbed eight
rebounds for the Suns, who have won four in a row and five of their last six.
Boris Diaw added 15 points and six boards in the win.

Toronto forward Chris Bosh returned to the starting lineup after missing the
last 12 games with a left knee injury, and scored 26 points and pulled down 14
rebounds for the Raptors, who have lost three straight.

Toronto came out with a 13-5 spurt to begin the third quarter, capped by
Bosh’s jumper, narrowing the gap to 65-58.

The Suns tallied nine of the next 12 points, highlighted by Leandro Barbosa’s
trey, pushing the margin to 74-61. Phoenix took a 78-68 advantage into the
final frame.

The Raptors took an 83-82 edge after beginning the fourth quarter with a 16-4
rally, which began with Morris Peterson’s three-point play. A pair of Darrick
Martin threes cut the deficit to 82-79, two Anthony Parker free throws ended
the burst with 7:18 to play for Toronto’s first lead of the contest.

The Suns scored nine of the next 11 for a 91-85 lead, but Toronto wouldn’t go
away, scoring seven straight, capped by Bosh’s layup, for a 92-91 margin with
1:23 on the clock.

However, Nash quickly connected on a trey at the other end. Bosh’s three-point
play gave the Raptors a 95-94 lead, but Nash drained a trio of free throws
followed by a jumper with 11.5 seconds left extended the lead to 99-95.

Parker hit a three, but Shawn Marion hit 1-of-2 at the line with 3.8 ticks
left.

Martin had a chance to win the game but his three hit the top of the
backboard.

Phoenix led 29-23 after the opening 12 minutes of play.

Bosh, who scored 11 first-half points, tied the game at 41 with a dunk, but
Phoenix closed the half with a 19-4 run, including three-point plays from Bell
and Stoudemire, for a 60-45 lead.

Game Notes

The Raptors went 6-6 in Bosh’s absence…Marion finished with 13 points and
nine rebounds while Barbosa donated 12 points…Parker ended with 16 points
while Martin scored 14…Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani netted 17 for the Raptors,
who shot 42 percent from the field, including 10-of-19 from long
distance…Phoenix shot 46 percent from the floor…The Suns have won six
consecutive meetings.

PHO TOR