for this game

Suns overcome Bosh's big night, burn Raptors

Dec 23, 2007 - 6:45 AM By Bob Huhn PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Running into a red-hot Chris Bosh wasn't enough to keep the Phoenix Suns from their usual season sweep of the Toronto Raptors.

Leandro Barbosa scored 31 points and Amare Stoudemire had 28 to overcome a career-high 42 points from Bosh and lift the Suns past Toronto, 122-103, on Saturday.

Bosh, who sat out the first contest between the two teams this season - a 136-123 Phoenix win on December 5 - shot 10-for-20 from the field and hit 22-of-24 from the foul line. However, the rest of his teammates could not match his effort, shooting 37.1 percent (26-for-70) from the field.

"Lately, I have been trying to be aggressive and try to find my rhythm and, so far, it has been working," Bosh said. "I have been shooting the ball pretty good and the free-throw line is my friend. I try to attack the basket and get those easy points."

"Bosh is obviously a handful," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We wanted him to go one-on-one and not let the other guys go crazy from the three. That is when they are really dangerous."

Grant Hill added 25 points and Steve Nash had 16 assists for Phoenix, which reached the 19-win mark before Christmas for only the third time in franchise history. The win also allowed the Suns to claim their fourth straight two-game sweep of the Raptors, who have not defeated Phoenix since February 10, 2004.

Despite scoring 35 points in the opening stanza, it took a while for the Suns to get their offense going.

Toronto took an 11-4 lead when Andrea Bargnani sank a 3-pointer three minutes into the game, but Phoenix rallied with a 13-5 run that included nine by Stoudemire to take the lead at 17-16.

After Bosh hit a jumper to move the Raptors ahead by one at 18-17, Phoenix took the lead for good courtesy of a 14-4 run that allowed the Suns to take a 31-22 advantage.

"They tried to keep up with us but we had guys that were relentless out there," Stoudemire said. "We came out from the start and played strong. We have players who can score easily and we want to try to utilize their talents."

Toronto trimmed the lead to one on three different occasions in the second quarter but was turned away repeatedly on the strength of Barbosa's 15 points in the quarter as Phoenix established a 66-61 lead.

Barbosa, who replaced the injured Raja Bell in the stating lineup, hit seven of 11 shots from the arc after not attempting a 3-pointer in Phoenix's last game - a 108-105 loss to Dallas - on Thursday night.

"My rhythm was great tonight and the shots were there," Barbosa said. "(In the) last game, they were not there and no one wants to miss shots, so I didn't take any. When I start, I get more opportunities and playing next to Steve Nash helps, too. He gets me the ball when I am open."

In the third quarter, the Suns picked up the offensive intensity and the Raptors looked like a team that is in the midst of a seven-game road trip and playing the second game in two nights.

Phoenix put the game away by outscoring Toronto, 37-22, in the quarter to take a 103-83 lead into the final stanza. The Suns increased the lead to 23 points early in the fourth on a jumper by reserve guard Marcus Banks.

"The offensive rebounds in the third quarter killed us," said Raptors coach Sam Mitchell of the six boards his team allowed in the period. "I think they hit a two or a three on every offensive rebound. I am not going to talk about the NBA schedule because everyone has to go through it. They are just a better team then us now."

Jose Calderon added 15 points for the Raptors, who fell to 7-8 on the road.

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