Records: Raptors (1-5), Suns (5-2)
Where to Watch
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Location: Phoenix Suns Arena, Phoenix, AZ
The Toronto Raptors looked like they might get things back on track after a hot start against the Boston Celtics on Monday. Converting seven of their 14 3-point attempts in the first quarter, the Raptors got out to an early 23-10 lead but it was all downhill from there. By the end of the quarter, that lead was trimmed to nine. By halftime, following a 21-point second-quarter outburst from All-Star forward Jayson Tatum, Toronto was somehow trailing by 15.
The Raptors would go on to lose, marking the fifth time this season in as many losses that they blew a double-digit lead. Toronto’s offence isn’t clicking, as it owns the third-worst offensive rating in the NBA at 102.9 points per 100 possessions, ahead of only the Cleveland Cavaliers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
They rank dead-last in field goal percentage (41.2%) and, despite averaging 15.5 made 3s per game (third-best in the NBA), they have the sixth-worst 3-point percentage in the league at 33.5%.
Toronto can typically make up for their lacklustre offence with elite defence, but even that side of the ball has been a struggle this season, as it ranks in the middle of the pack with a defensive rating of 106.8.
While Fred VanVleet is starting to heat up, coming off of an impressive 35-point showing against Boston, All-Star forward Pascal Siakam is still trying to find his footing and the Raptors’ bench has been a non-factor, starting with Norman Powell’s 8.5 points per game on 30.8% shooting from the field.
The Raptors will go head-to-head against one of the hottest teams in the NBA as the Suns are rolling to start the season.
All-Star guard Devin Booker has picked up right where he left off in the bubble, averaging a team-high 21.4 points per game while shooting 49.5% from the field. Where you’d expect former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton or future Hall of Famer Chris Paul to be the team’s second-leading scorer, that title goes to the newly appointed Most Improved Player of the Year candidate Mikal Bridges, who has averaged 14.1 points per game while shooting 46.3% from 3 and added two-way impact as a versatile defender for Phoenix.
Ayton has still been awesome, posting a double-double of 13.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, whereas Paul hasn’t had to break much of a sweat just yet, averaging 13.4 points and 8.3 assists per game with a couple of typical clutch shots along the way.
The biggest surprise for the Suns is their 103.4 defensive rating, which ranks third in the NBA. Not typically known for their defence, this is a new-look team in Phoenix trying to solidify themselves as legitimate contenders early on in the season.
– Patrick McCaw: OUT (left knee)
– The Suns’ injury report has not yet been submitted.
– The Raptors offensive rating of 102.9 ranks 28th in the NBA
– Toronto has blown double-digit leads in all five of their losses this season.
– Fred VanVleet has made at least one 3-pointer in 38 consecutive games (Dec. 20, 2019 – Jan. 4, 2021), tying C.J. Miles for the longest streak in franchise history, who made a 3-pointer in 38 consecutive games during the 2017-18 season.
– The Suns rank third in the NBA in Defensive Rating, allowing just 100.7 points per 100 possessions. The Suns haven’t finished in the top 10 in Defensive Rating in a season in 20 years since 2000-01 when they ranked second, per the Suns game notes.
– The Suns are 5-2 through seven games, their best start to a season since opening 6-1 in 2009-10.
Last Time They Played
Date: March 3, 2020
Score: Raptors 123, Suns 114
Raptors: Pascal Siakam – 33 PTS, 7 REB, 3 AST, 2 BLK
Suns: Devin Booker – 22 PTS, 10 AST, 4 REB
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