Raptor Rewind- Steve Nash Return Edition

Steve Nash the starting point guard for your Toronto Raptors!!! Well no that is not the case. But just typing that felt good and I would not mind doing that more in the future. But it is another former Sun that is the talk of the town. Shawn Marion of the Miami Heat. He is rumoured to be on the market and the two front runners to trade for him are the Toronto Raptors and Dallas Mavericks. Pat Riley is interested in J.O so says the rumour mills. He is said to want to evaluate how J.O does over his next 4 or 5 games coming back. But I think the honest answer is that contract is attractive for Riley to build a plan to keep D Wade on the Miami Heat. Point is seems like there will be a bit of a wait for a move to happen. Here is some sober news for the challenge the Raptors face today in the Suns. Since Steve Nash signed with the Suns the Raptors are 0-8 against them. Not good news and if Jose Calderon plays or not it will not change that stat. Suns are a much different team and finding their way with a re-birth of Shaq and they have added Jason Richardson. I do not hold out much hope for a Raptor win today. Nash had also been rumoured to head to Toronto but given the Suns starting to find their stride those hopes have faded to a non existent level. But hey, figuring out this Raptor team has been a challenge this year. I did not expect any of what I saw in that Pacer game at all. The strange line-up that got Raps going in the 4th would make an appearance today. No Jose and A.P as your starting point guard with Joey Graham at shooting guard? That is the starting line-up a weird on for sure. Your regular starters of moon Bargnani and Bosh.

1st Quarter

This is going to be fun to see Steve Nash regardless of the Raptor effort against him. Also late word that J.O and Jason Kapono will not play today do you smell a trade I do. Kapono is said to have flu, while no reason was given for J.O being out. But the Raps had a game to play trade or no trade. Nash and Triano have a nice moment before the tip. The Suns win the tip but miss there first chance to score. Parker on Raptors first offensive play posts up Nash scores and draws a foul. He makes that and Raptors get another basket from Andrea Bargnani and Raptors have an early 5-0 lead. Shaq gets an offensive foul and the Raptors are having as good a start as you could have hoped for.

Amare Stoudamire slams it down and snaps back a little reality to my head. However Chris Bosh answers on the other end making his first attempt of the game. Joey Graham is fouled and Shaq has 2 fouls and makes an early exit. Joey made both and it is a 9-2 Raptor lead. Jason Richardson gets a score to hopefully for the Suns get them going. They would get their first back to back baskets. But the Raptors get another basket from Joey G who was looking good as a shooting guard today. The Suns were getting burned early as Parker would score and the Raptors were up 16-8 early on the Suns. Andrea Bargnani got called for a foul on Grant Hill who made a pair from the line. Bosh would attack the basket and draw a foul and get to the line. Bosh made both and the Raptors were a perfect 6-6 from the line. Moon makes a long two ball and the Raptors had a 10 point lead.

So far this new line-up was doing well. Suns would get a basket and try to build a comeback. Steve Nash has an assist on every made basket for the Suns. Bosh found his way back to the line and he could only go 1 for 2. It was the Raptors holding on to a 21-12 lead with 5:39 to go in the first. Parker playing from the point calls his own number and he had 7 points early. Amare Stoudamire would get to the line and make a pair. Bargnani tried to drive and score but could not finish. Suns get out in transition and make the Raptors pay. So the Suns were creeping back with the score now 23-16. But Parker got to the line to make a pair to put Raptors back up 9 points again. Grant Hill would nail a 3 pointer and Richardson a drive and score and like that the Suns were back to within 4 points with score 25-21. But CB4 would drive to the basket for a score. But a Richardson 3 pointer and the Suns were looking to get it rolling now. The Suns would score again and they had a 14-4 run going and were down just 27-26. But Joey Graham would save the Raptor lead for now making a jumper. But Matt Barnes would score and draw a second foul on Bosh. He would make the and 1 and the Suns had fought back to tie it up. But Andrea Bargnani who checked in for Bosh made a big 3 ball. Barbosa who was in for Nash quickly answered with a 2 pointer for the Suns. He is called the Brazilian Blur after all. Richardson would get to the line and give the Suns their first lead 33-32. Kris Humphries was in the game and made his way to the line. He made a pair to put the Raptors back in the lead. But Barnes hits a 3 pointer to close the quarter and the Suns after a slow start lead after 1 with the score 36-34.

2nd Quarter

Triano's new back court had 18 points that was the good news. Bad news was the Suns were rolling on offense and they started the second with a fast basket. Moon takes a 3 ball he like should not have but made it. Roko Ukic had checked in at the point for the Raps. Barbosa would hit a bucket from distance wide open. Parker shifted over to the shooting guard and drains a 3 pointer. The Raptors thanks to a couple 3 balls were hanging around. The Score was 43-42 but the Suns were a team that has potential to score more. Shaq would get tangled with Jake Voskhul and get called for a technical foul. The Suns after all of this lead 46-43. Bargnani would make a 2 pointer and pull the Raptors to down just 1 with the score 46-45. Jake Voskhul ran over Steve Nash for an offensive foul.

Barbosa makes the Raptors pay with a 3 pointer and the Suns lead 49-45. Shaq would add to the lead with a basket in the post. After a Raptor score Matt Barnes showed a little something...something with a big dunk. Nash pushes the ball to Barbosa and the Suns had built their largest lead with the score 55-47. Matt Barnes a guy some Raptor fans have desired in a trade makes another shot and he was looking good as were the Suns. Raptors were now down 10 points but AP would get a basket and he was doing well. Joey Graham was doing well to as he got a basket to pull the Raptors to down 6 points. Joey would hustle back but got called for the foul on Shaq. O'Neal was perfect from the line today. He is said to have gone back to his high school routine and it has helped his shooting from the line. Bosh has never struggled from the line and he was going their thanks to Amare. He made both. But Shaq had a very big answer with a dunk. But Raptors were fight hard to stay in it. Parker had an answer with a jumper and the Raptors trailed 61-56. The effort was there but a much better team in front of them. Also the defense was awful on both sides. Joey Graham was at the line he and Parker were leading the Raps. Joey makes a pair and it was 61-58. Shaq missed on a dunk attempt but Raptors could not cut the lead more. The Suns would get a basket and get the lead back to 5 points. The pace was unreal for this game.

So there was still almost 3 minutes to play as the Suns reach the 65 point mark on an Amare jumper. Stoudamire would score again as Nash found him on the break. It was 67-58 for the Suns. If this was going to turn into a game of who scores the most my money goes on the Suns to win that battle. Barnes missed a chance to extend the lead to 11. But the Raptors would turn it over and the Suns would get another chance as Barnes got to the line this time. He would make a pair and the Suns were pushing 70 points for the first half. Jamario Moon got the Raptors in the sixties with a 3 pointer. Will Solomon had another basket. The Raptors clawed back to 6 down. But the Suns would get a basket to make the half time score 71-63 and this game looked like a throwback to the 70's ABA.

3rd Quarter

Raptors started the quarter with back to back baskets by Bosh and Graham. They were now just down 71-67 and still hanging around. Stoudamire would get the Suns back on track with a basket. Bargnani would miss on a 3 pointer but he would later get a chance to cut the lead from the line. He would make both to pull the Raptors back to down just 4 points. Shaq would then get the Suns rolling as he got a basket and made a foul shot. Bosh would answer with a make on a fading jumper. But O'Neal would score again and it would start a push by the Suns. It was part of what would be a 9-2 run by the Suns that would extend their lead to 82-71 with 6:37 to play in the quarter.

But Raptors had that fight in them that they found in 4th quarter in Indiana. Parker and a Moon 3 pointer and the Raptors had refused to go away. Stoudamire would get a score and Bosh would turn it over to Jason Richardson would take it all the way to the hoop for a dunk. Suns were back on top 86-76. But again here come the Raptors as Joey Graham who was having a career day would score,get fouled and make the and one. He was GOOD Joey today in a way we have not seen before. That would start a 7-2 push for the Raptors as they climbed back in it once again. They had the score down to 88-83. Steve Nash would take this moment to go from play maker to scorer with a great drive to the hoop that sparked the Suns to extend the lead to hang on to the lead. A silly foul on Barbosa with under 2 seconds left would give the Suns an eight point lead after 3 quarters in stead of six. They had a 95-87 lead after 3 quarters to maintain the advantage they had heading into the quarter. Both teams scored 24 points each and that was a bit off the crazy scoring pace of the first half.

4th Quarter

A dunk for Amare to start the quarter and again the Suns had a 10 point lead. But the Raptors again would refuse to go away. Hump was in for the short handed Raps and he got a score. A couple Stoudamire free throws were followed by a Bosh dunk and a Moon 3 pointer and again the Raptors were challenging to get back in it. Stoudamire would go back to the line and split a pair and Chris Bosh would make a turn around jumper and The Raptors were now with in sight with the score 100-96.

Roko Ukic who was backing up the surprise starting point guard in AP. He would get a lay up and the Raptors were now just one basket away from climbing that mountain. Stoudamire would get a slam dunk and extend the lead back to 4 points. However Joey Graham would score and then do what Joey does when he is good with an amazing dunk to follow the jumper. He had a career high 22 points and was on fire at the ACC. The game was all tied at 102. But a Shaq hook shot would start a 7-0 run for the Suns. The rest of that would be earned from the line as Nash was fouled behind the arc and made 3 free throws and fouled again to make 2 more. It is not the seventy whatever that Jose Calderon has had this season. But it was 5 clutch free throws that meant a lot for this game and getting a win.

So it was the Suns now leading 109-102. But as had been the story all game here come the Raptors again. A Parker 3 pointer and a Bosh jumper and the Raptors were again just 2 points from getting this thing tied up. Parker had 22 points and has having a big day as well. After the Suns split a pair from the line Parker would make another jumper and he had got the Raptors to down 1. Matt Barnes and Amare Stoudamire had back to back baskets to extend the lead back up to 5 points. Jamario Moon would show a flash of last year's Moon with a put back dunk. Both teams would go cold and it was not until AP got a bucket with 1:18 to play that the ice would go away. Raptors down again just one. But cue Steve Nash to kill the Raptors hope. He would find himself matched up on Bosh and blew by him to the basket for the great and stylish lay up. There was 12 seconds to go and Raptors were down 116-113. Parker would take a shot and miss the Raptors would get a couple more chance battling in the paint but in the end Amare Stoudamire got the ball and was fouled. He would make a free throw that would add to his stat line but the game was over. Raptors lose again in a heart breaking way 117-113.

Raps/Suns Boxscore

Raptors and J.O trade talk is heating up as there is talk a deal with Miami may almost be done. Jermaine O'Neal for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. So no idea who will be playing tomorrow. But what I can say is it will be early as the Raptors will play the Hawks with a 2pm tip time as it is Martin Luther King Jr holiday south of the border. So have no fear the Dino Blogger will be here. If you have to work I will be doing the Raptor Rewind that you can check out if you miss the action.

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