This has been a tough road-trip for the Toronto Raptors, who’ve played six of their last eight games on the road. Coming into last night’s contest against the Phoenix Suns, Toronto was finishing the second-half of a back-to-back, after a 121-111 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

But it was almost the same story for the Suns as well. They returned home after a two-game road-trip from Houston and San Antonio, which both resulted in blowout losses.

So to simplify, last night was nothing short of a lethargic game from both Phoenix and Toronto, and it seemed as if whoever won the turnover battle, won the game. However the Suns did have more turnovers than Toronto overall, but just five of those came in the second-half from Phoenix (Toronto had 11)

We saw twelve lead-changes and nine-ties from both teams, but the Suns ultimately looked like the younger and quicker lineup. They’d go on to score 34 points in the third quarter (largest lead was 14), and held it until then. The home team defeated Toronto 99-91, picking up just their 10th win on the season.

1. DEMAR DEROZAN WAS HOT IN THE FIRST QUARTER, BUT IT WASNT SUSTAINABLE. 

DeMar DeRozan had just became the Raptors’ all-time franchise leading scorer the other night in Oakland, surpassing Chris Bosh on the totem pole.

But in the first-quarter of last night’s outing against Phoenix, he proved why. Scoring eleven points on 4-7 shooting, but he didn’t get any hotter than that the rest of the night. He had just two points in the second, and went just 3-9 in the second-half for 11 points.

Of course, many will give DeRozan credit for even reaching 24 points, and he was able to get to the foul line per-usual. He finished with 8-10 free-throw attempts.

It’s simply the most intriguing aspect that one could like about DeRozan’s game. He knows he isn’t a shooter, and even if he did have the hot-hand, his initiative will always be to attack the defense.

2. ERIC BLEDSOE IS PROVING HE SHOULD BE AN ALL-STAR; OUTPLAYS LOWRY.

On a side-note, Suns Point Guard and former Clipper Eric Bledsoe, has looked great, already surpassing the amount of games that he appeared in last year (31). He’s been absolutely imposing with the Phoenix Suns.

If there’s anyone who I believe could the Western Conference All-Star roster this year, it’d be none other than Bledsoe, himself. Some considerations would be nice, but he’s been one of the more dominant Point Guards in the league.

But of course, your win/loss record is an enlarged part of everyone’s vote, and for the struggling Suns, they haven’t been able to backup Eric’s great season.

Bledsoe forced himself against his star PG matchup Kyle Lowry, who is an All-Star. Both are small, but bully-like Point Guards that aren’t afraid to get physical. Other than eight turnovers, it’s needless to say that Bledsoe outplayed Lowry, in very many ways.

Eric had a double-double of 22 points and 10 assists on 9-14 (64%) shooting from the floor. He also added three steals and two blocks. For Kyle, he obtained 24 points on 7-15 shooting, along with five rebounds and five assists, as well as two takeaways and one rejection.

Bledsoe even included another one of those wild circus shots that we see almost every game:

3. TYSON CHANDLER WAS AN ELITE INTERIOR PRESENCE. 

The Suns brought in 15-year veteran and former New Orleans/New York Center Tyson Chandler, for a four-year, $52 million deal last year. He wasn’t healthy last season though, dealing with linger shoulder and knee injuries — forcing him to play just 66 games in the 2015-16 season.

Last night, Tyson looked like a different component for this Suns’ roster, and it wasn’t on the sidelines either. He scored seven points and pulled down 13 boards. He also added two steals and one block:

Even though there’s so many young Centers on this Suns’ roster, it’s been a blessing in disguise for Suns GM Ryan McDonough to bring in Chandler. There’s so much growing to do within the Suns’ front-court between Alex Len, plus rookies Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender, that it’s important for Chandler to mentor them.

4. TYLER ULIS IS GOING TO BE SPECIAL. 

From what I’ve seen these last few months from the former-Kentucky Point Guard, has been outstanding. I tweeted yesterday that if you haven’t seen Tyler Ulis play some basketball, just click here.

Ulis is one of the most confident Guards I’ve seen from this 2016 Draft Class, and I’m predicting him to become an NBA-starter one day. He’s well-undersized at a mere 5’11” height, and weighs just 150 lbs, but it seems like those measures double-up whenever he checks-in.

Tyler had got into it while being matched-up with Lowry, and both were assessed with a techical foul. It only led to a big performance off the bench for Ulis, though. He hit two big three-pointers, and finished with 10 points and 2 assists in just 15 minutes total:

5. DEVIN BOOKER WAS HORRIBLE FROM THE FLOOR, BUT MANAGED FOR 19 POINTS, ANYWAY. 

I predicted it to happen, and it certainly has. Reality is hitting sophomore rising-star Devin Booker hard this year, after receiving so much hype in the offseason.

It hasn’t been a great shooting year at all for Devin, as he comes down with shooting averages of 40% on field-goals, 32% on three-pointers, and an effective field-goal percentage of about 45%. All of those numbers are lower than last seasons’.

But to be fair, Booker has taken 5.7 more attempts in comparison to last season, so that definitely can impact your overall efficiency. He did turn 20 just two months ago.

It was a rough-night from Devin, nevertheless. He was 6-for-19 (31%) from the field, and wasn’t 1-4 on his three-point attempts. He did finish with 19 points, and really defended DeMar staunchly in the second-half:

It’s just going to take a considerable amount of time for Devin to understand his capabilities on the offensive-end. He is proving p that he should’ve been a top-10 pick in last year’s draft, but the Suns are lucky to have found a potential cornerstone in him.

FINAL TAKEAWAYS:

  • PJ Tucker finished with 14 points and 4 rebounds, including two huge corner threes in the second-half.
  • Rookie Marquese Chris added 8 points and 2 rebounds, in his 26th start of the season.
  • Brandon Knight played just 9 minutes, but scored seven points with one three-pointer.
  • TJ Warren was miserable from the field, finishing with four points on 2-11 shooting.
  • Alex Len had 5 points and 6 rebounds off the bench.
  • Cory Joseph looked great with 15 points, 6 rebounds, and two three-pointers in 25 minutes.
  • Terrence Ross was horrible. Was 3-11 from the field and 1-7 from deep for seven points.
  • Patrick Patterson left the game with an apparent knee injury, and would not return.

The Raptors (22-10) will continue their five-game road trip, facing the L.A Lakers on Sunday, then San Antonio next Wednesday.

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