Raps hammer Nash, Suns in Vancouver
The Toronto Raptors held local hero Steve Nash in check as they crushed the Phoenix Suns 129-78 in NBA pre-season action Wednesday night in Vancouver.
It was the first game of the exhibition campaign for the Raptors, who wrapped up their six-day training camp before heading home to Toronto. Phoenix remained winless in three pre-season contests.
Nash, a two-time league MVP from Victoria, B.C., was limited to nine points in just over two quarters of play.
Raptors forward Linas Kleiza led all scorers with 20 points, five rebounds and two steals. DeMar DeRozan scored 16, while Joey Dorsey added 13 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
The Suns' Jared Dudley scored 10 points while former Raptor Hedo Turkoglu, who was traded in the off-season, scored six and led Phoenix with eight rebounds.
The game pitted Raptors coach Jay Triano, former bench boss of Canada's national and Olympic teams, against his former player and close friend Nash.
It was the Raptors first exhibition game in Vancouver, although they faced the Vancouver Grizzlies five times in the same arena between 1995-2000 before the West Coast club was relocated to Memphis.
Nash drew the biggest cheers from the fans, but most of among the crowd at Rogers Arena supported the Raptors. Fans booed Turkoglu every time he touched the ball — and jeered him every time he committed a foul or made a mistake.
Showing some rust
Both clubs missed several shots and lay-up attempts in the early going as the lead changed hands eight times. The Suns jumped out to a 15-10 advantage when Nash sank a free throw, courtesy of a Toronto technical for a defensive three-second violation, and then drained a jump shot.
But they were the only three points he scored in the initial period, and the Raptors went on a 14-3 run to lead 24-13 after the first quarter. Holding Nash to just two points in the second quarter, the Raptors extended their lead to 55-39 at half-time.
Kleiza furnished 15 points to lead the Raptors in the first half, while Turkoglu and Grant Hill led the Suns with six points apiece.
Hill scored six points for Phoenix in the first half but never got the chance to add more. With just over five minutes left in the third quarter, Hill and Toronto's Reggie Evans were quickly ejected after a collision and confrontation in front of the Raptors bench.
The Raptors had little difficulty padding their lead the rest of the quarter as Nash and Turkoglu spent most of the second half on the bench. Dominating the glass, Toronto coasted to a 94-58 advantage after three quarters.