RaptorsHQ Rapid Recap - Phoenix Suns 96 - Toronto Raptors 99

- It wasn't pretty, and you couldn't call what the Raptors played for a lot of the game "defense" but there were definitely highlights and enough for the Raptors to take it and beat the Phoenix Suns

- To start off, Andrea Bargnani's return was a massive boost for the club as he poured in buckets in the second half. If you were wondering if the Raptors missed Bargs presence, you just had to look at this game to see the impact. All in all, our returning "power forward" amassed 36 points to get the Raptors over the hump

- Oh, and defensively, Bargnani was still a step slow coming back from his injury. However, he managed to pull in 6 boards and play very impressive pick and roll defense with Jose Calderon. Yup, that's your two worst defenders from previous years being huge troublemakers for the Suns' pick and roll schemes. (Something that will be an emerging storyline from Casey's first year as coach)

- James Johnson also managed to even out some boneheaded plays with some effective offense. He crashed the offensive glass and managed to find 18 points on some very effective shooting and second chance points.

- Until the second half got rolling though, it was Leandro Barbosa who sustained the Raptors and barraged the Suns with 3 pointers. Once again, Barbosa showed why the Raptors simply can't depend on DeRozan for any kind of consistent offense or defense.

- On the other side, Robin Lopez was ejected for nudging an official in the first half and Steve Nash even picked up a technical after arguing a missed call.

- The Suns got a lot of scoring from Marcin Gortat and Hakim Warrick, both of which abused the Raptors individual defenders for most of the game.

- Overall it's a great win, and a great release of pressure as the Raptors travel to Utah to face the Jazz

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