So the Suns win the tip and go to match-up of Bargnani on Shaq. Smart move and easy 2 points. Raps would get a score and Shaq would look to score again and fumble it. What looked to be a shot clock violation and it would end up a jump ball. It was won by Suns and lead to a Shaq dunk. Bosh would respond with a jumper. Barbosa and Bargnani exchange baskets. Shaq attack in full effect making another basket but could not make the foul shot. Raptors have no answer for the many with more nicknames than I can remember. He also has the best Twitter out there The Real Shaq. Shawn Marion and Jose Calderon are not on Twitter to the best of my knowledge but that had back to back baskets.
Raptors would take a 13-12 lead thanks to Bargnani. But Shaq would return after a short rest and he would take advantage again. This was a vintage performance by the big man and Jay Triano had not answer as Jake Voskhul was no better a match up than Bargnani was. The Suns had a 28-23 lead Shaq had 12 points already. Bosh was off to a good start with 8 points. However the storyline of this game seems to be how can the Raptors stop the Big Cactus. Shawn Marion would make a nice floater in the the lane. But Dudley would score. Dudley was acquired as part of the deal that brought Jason Richardson to the Suns. Matt Barnes would get a basket and was fouled by Jake Voskhul. That was Jake's 4th foul in 4 minutes. I mean that is just unreal. Andrea Bargnani got fouled and made a couple from the line. Jason Kapono would make a bucket. Patrick O'Bryant was in with Voskhul gone. He fouled Dudley who made a pair from the line. Bargnani missed one of two from the line. Suns would add a basket and lead by 7 with score 37-30 after one. Nothing looking good for the guys in the alternate blacks. Yes they were scoring but the defense was totally non existent unless you count fouling as defense. If that is true Jake Voskhul is playing GREAT D.
Parker opens the second with a 3 pointer from his sweet spot in the corner. Suns respond with an alley opp play for 2. Bosh made a pair from the line. Bargnani with the drive and some lucky gets the basket plus a foul. He would make that and The Raptors had cut the lead to just 1 point. Suns respond with a basket but Bosh would answer that score and the lead would remain at one. Bosh would be fouled and he would have a chance to tie it as Shaq was ready to check back in. Actually it was non shooting but no matter Bosh buries the jumper and were are tied at 42.
Jason Kapono would make a mid range jumper and Raptors were back in front. Raptors had started the quarter outscoring the Suns 14-5. We had a Suns feed of the game and a guy made a half court shot that he made under handed. He won $77,777. Shaq makes that per game I believe and he got a score after the excitement during the time out. Grant Hill beats Kapono and scores with an and 1 foul shot. Suns back in front 47-44. The Raptors would pull back to with in one. But Shaq would score and Bosh would foul him. Shaq would have the rare convert of a 3 point scoring chance. Suns were back in front and if Raptors couldn't stop Shaq it was a safe bet they could stay there. Shaq continued to abuse a defenseless Bosh with a slam. Bosh already had 2 fouls and did not want to pick up a 3rd. Marion has a score the other way and Raptors were hanging around down 2 points. However back to Shaq and he had 23. Jose Calderon would answer. Suns were diving all over the place including Shaq and they were doing the little things that team do that need a win. It was that hustle that would lead them on a 6-0 run to take an 8 point lead. Barbosa had a drive and score and Suns had largest lead of the night at 10 points with score 64-54. Suns would get it up to a dozen until Bargnani would hit a 3 pointer to cut the lead to 9. Shawn Marion a basket, a steal leading to a Parker basket. The Raptors would end up with an 11-0 run. Raptors defense was awful but the Suns were equally as defenseless. This was ABA like with score 68-67 Suns at the half.
Raptors would take the lead only to see more of what they saw in first half with Shaq scoring. Bargnani stepped inside and made a lone 2 pointer. Calderon would make a jumper and the Raptors lead 73-70. Grant Hill would score. Only to have Bosh answer at the other end. Raptors offense has been re-born. Bosh would split a pair a the line. Grant Hill would pass it into Shaq and he would score. Hill had 9 assists and Shaq had a massive total of points. Shawn Marion would give the Raptors lead back after Suns had tied it at 76. But more Shaq and it was tied at 78. The big man had 29. Marion had 18 for the Raptors and Bosh had 16 and Bargnani 18. Could the Raptors 3 be able to counter the Big Old School Superman? Well Bosh would pick up his 4th foul and that would not help things. Shaq would score again and head to the line. He made the free throw and had 32 and the Suns lead 81-80. Jason Kapono would respond with a 2 point jumper. Barbosa back the other way and the Suns lead was 83-82. Shawn Marion was having a night in front of his former fans. He would make another basket and had 22 points to lead the Raptors.
Raptors lead it 84-83. But Suns would score out of time out. But A.P would make a corner 3 pointer. Raptors lead it 87-85. Grant Hill ties it up at 87. A Marion miss in the lane lead to another Hill basket the other way and he was fouled by Jake Voskhul who had now 5 fouls in 6 minutes. So Hill's five straight gave the Suns a 90-87 lead. A steal would lead to a dunk for the Suns and a 5 point lead. A Bargnani travel and Raptors may have got into a fight that they can't win. Naturally Jason Kapono makes a 3 pointer to make me look bad. Suns would get a score and Grant Hill was looking for another and got called for the offensive push off. But Matt Barnes would eventual get to the line and make 2 shots. Ukic would drive and score the Raptors were down 4. The score after 3 was larger than a lot of final scores you'll see in the NBA. Suns 96 and Raptors 92. If you like offense this is the game for you.
The Suns got a basket plus a foul from Amundson. But Andrea Bargnani answers with a 3 pointer and as it was stated off the top if you expected defense in this game you would be sad with this game. Suns were starting to pull away with a 7-0 run that would have a Jason Richardson 3 pointer have the Raptors looking for a time out. Bosh would find Marion out of the time out for a dunk. However Amundson would score again he was 7-7 and had 15 points. Marion was fouled but missed his first and made his second. Matt Barnes would score and the Suns were pulling away up by 12 with score 110-98.
Calderon would get fouled and head to the line where he has missed only twice all year. No logger jinx he made both and it was 110-100. Suns just give it to Shaq why not. The big man would score again and had 38 points his career high with the Suns. It was 116-110. Shaq would foul Calderon and that was an easy 2 points for Jose from the line. Shaq with a dunk and he has 40 points and the Suns were just to much for the Raptors. He scored again and he had 42 and the lead was 120-102. The Raptors tank was on empty and it was showing as it was 122-104 as Shaq was fouled and Bargnani had fouled out. Bargnani had 21 points and 6 rebounds on the night. Shaq meanwhile has 44 points with a rare 2-2 effort at the line. Shaq was looking for more with an ugly hook it would fall but Jason Richardson had a massive put back. Shaq would get 1 more point before leaving to massive and well deserved cheers with 45 points and 11 rebounds. The Suns would out run the Raptors 133-113. A boxscore with lots of great lines for a lot of folks but none bigger than the man who was the Star of "Blue Chips".
So the Raptors fall in what may have bee the best chance they had for a win on this road trip. If you consider the Suns played the night before and had no Steve Nash. The Raptors now travel to the lone star state home of CB4 to his home town of Dallas to face the Maverick and a tilt with Yao and the Rockets after that. Given what we saw tonight good luck to the Raptors in stopping Yao. Meanwhile Nathan Jawai made his debut with the Iadho Stampede and 8 points 6 rebounds but had 6 fouls and 4 of them were offensive fouls. The Stampede lost to Utah. Idaho will play the same Utah team tomorrow. I will likely check it out and give you an update on Nathan's progress. Former Raptor Luke Jackson is also on the Idaho Stampede. But turning back to the Raptors it is not going to be easy to find a win on this road trip. The offense ran out of gas and the defense well there wasn't any.