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Despite playing a mere seven minutes for the Toronto Raptors coming into the game since he was traded to them, Sebastian Telfair went from scout team quarterback to leading his new team to a victory over his former team.

Like his native New York brethren has said before: He came. He saw. He conquered.

And it was very personal.

"YES. ABSOLUTELY. I HAD TO LEAVE MY KIDS BACK, BECAUSE MY KIDS ARE IN SCHOOL HERE; SO YEAH IT WAS PERSONAL." -Bassy on his emotions playing his former team

The Phoenix Suns traded Telfair at the deadline to make room for the younger point guards they are trying to groom into NBA players. That is a part of the business. Though going from a bottom five team in the west to a bottom five team in the east is not the ideal situation for a veteran who evolved into one of the better back-up point guards in the league over the past two seasons.

Over the course of his career, Bassy has been traded a total of six times, but in none of those situations did he feel like he had a home within the franchise. He had that here.

"I loved the city and the fans. I learned a lot here and grew as a person," Bassy said after the game.

Portland, Boston, Minnesota, Los Angeles (Clippers), and Cleveland have all traded the veteran point guard throughout his career as a part of a package. Then, Phoenix traded him to make it six times in an eight year career as he has become a victim of circumstance everywhere he has landed.

He came out with an energy and played 26 minutes, the equivalent of his final three games with the Suns before he had to update his passport and head to Canada.

"I WAS EXPECTING TO GET SOME MINUTES, BUT I DIDN'T KNOW HOW MANY AND I APPRECIATE THE 26 MINUTES. I WILL TELL YOU THAT." -Sebastian Telfair


During his final three games with the Suns, he logged a total of 26 minutes and didn't get a lot of time on the court as the team was focused on the development of Kendall Marshall and Diante Garrett. Nobody was supplanting Goran Dragic as the starter so the backup minutes were split three ways and there had to be an odd man out. For one night, Bassy was no longer the odd man out in this arena.

MIN PTS ASTS REBS STLS FG
Bassy 26:38 13 7 2 4 5/12
Suns Trio 54:13 13 11 5 5 4/13

The intention may not have been to come in and outplay the collective roster at the point guard position, but that is exactly what he did by himself. His intensity on the defensive end frazzled and disjointed the Suns offense, stepping up and guarding the likes of Dragic, Marshall, Garrett, Michael Beasley, and anyone who caught the ball and was in his crosshairs.

"Knowing your personnel and knowing what guys want to do, knowing their plays definitely had an advantage tonight."

After two years in this system and with most of these players, Bassy was able to call out the plays to his team as his former team began to set them, leading to a U.S. Airways Center record 29 turnovers by the Suns. That passion that Bassy played with out there was on full display as he had something to play for tonight beyond just a win.

One game is not definitive proof anyone made a mistake, but Bassy left a lasting memory for those who made the "mistake" of trading him.

"I was thinking about going out there and competing. I was here and I was somewhere where I was comfortable and happy, but someone took that away from me. I wouldn’t say I was bitter, but I would be ashamed of myself if I wasn’t a little bitter or take this a little personal."

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Marcin Gortat came down on a Raptor ankle the ground late in the first quarter and exited the game. He had a strong eight point, four rebound performance going through 11 minutes and thanks to some nifty pick and roll play, finished with an impressive 4-6 shooting result in what's otherwise been an inconsistent season for the Polish big man.

Early reports suggest that Gortat will miss some time:

Phoenix Suns end win streak with loss to Toronto Raptors
"I just heard a pop," said Gortat, who has appeared in 182 consecutive games since the Suns traded for him. "I’ll be able to play. Well, I say ‘yeah.’ but the doctors say ‘no.’ I’m out for a few days. Maybe weeks."

Ankle injuries are highly variable from player to player. Some guys' tendons are more malleable than others and, of course for the Suns, there's absolutely zero reason to rush him back into action even with Jermaine O'Neal out for a few days attending to his daughter.

X-rays are reportedly negative for the Polish Ankle. Marcin will likely have an MRI on Wednesday to learn more about the soft tissue situation.

Hamed Haddadi got his first minutes this decade, finishing with just under ten total and a box score line that doesn't merit repeating in public. The Suns were forced to play small for good portions of the game with Markieff Morris playing as an undersized center.

The Suns very well could be facing DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings on Friday without Gortat or O'Neal. Who's your Haddadi now?

UPDATE:

Here's a screen shot of the moment when Gortat hurts his ankle. It appears he just came down funny.

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PHOENIX – A three-game winning streak went to the Phoenix Suns players’ heads. And as Phoenix fell at home, 98-71, in a blowout loss on Wednesday night to the Toronto Raptors, coach Lindsey...

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Both the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors came out playing tentative, lacking confidence in their game. No surprise since they are two of the seven worst teams in the NBA.

It was the Raptors who woke up to win the game while the Suns never looked right. In fact, for the second time this season, the Suns needed a final-possession score to keep from putting up a franchise-low 68 points.

Last time it was Wesley Johnson with the putback slam. This time, it was Marcus Morris with a 3 from the corner.

So much for four days off. Pregame, Lindsey Hunter responded, "We'll see" when I asked if the long break off a 3-game winning streak would have the young team feeling a little too good about themselves.

Goran Dragic was passing very well in the first, with 6 assists and a handful more great passes that ended in missed open shots. He fed Gortat on the pick-and-roll several times with success, to the tune of 8 quick points for the Polish Machine.

But Gortat went down hard on a Raptor's ankle at the end of the first and never returned. With Jermaine O'Neal already out to tend to his daughter, the Suns were down to fill-ins and a really big Iranian.

As this is going on, the Utah Jazz gave up a late lead to Cleveland, allowing the Cavs to finish the game on a 12-1 run to lose by a point. Well, at least the Lakers were down 19 at halftime. The Jazz wouldn't lose ground in their playoff hunt. Phew.

Enter Hamed Haddadi, activated for the first time since he played in Memphis. Haddadi was predictably lost out there, and the game crawled to a halt.

Sebastian Telfair came out with something to prove, scoring 10 points and dishing 4 assists in 15 minutes - after getting a grand total of SEVEN minutes in his first 6 games with Toronto - while Kendall Marshall just tried to hold the fort (0 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound) for 6 of those minutes. At least Bassy didn't pick his pocket.

When Dragic returned, he'd lost his first-quarter mojo and the Suns were toast. The Morris twins appeared disengaged, to the point where Michael Beasley was the "more focused" of the three.

By halftime, the Raptors were up 14 points and the Suns played like they had just met each other in the locker room earlier that night. The Suns finished the half with 13 turnovers to the Raptors' 4.

Telfair was a +12 in that first half. Did I mention he had gotten a grand total of seven minutes with Toronto in six games since the trade?

As bad as the second quarter went, the third quarter was worse for the Suns. The Suns still had no rhythm.

The Raptors took what they were given, while the Suns kept on giving.

At this goes on, the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a 17-point fourth quarter deficit to the New Orleans Hornets to finish on a 20-0 run to win by 6. 20 to 0. Really, New Orleans? Seriously? Are you an NBA team? You couldn't make one or two shots?

I digress.

Enter Diante Garrett at PG for the Suns with 5 minutes left in the third and a 16 point deficit. What happened to your bright orange shoes, D?

The game quickly became a giveaway game for the Suns. No worries. They got more of these here home games on the slate.

Goran Dragic, who hurt his lower back in the Suns' last game, was short on his shot all night and not very aggressive in traffic. By the fourth quarter, Dragic was limping.

The Raptors made 10-22 threes (Bassy had 3 of them).

At least this helps their lottery position.

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These teams have a lot more in common than meets the eye. This season the Phoenix Suns (21-39) and the Toronto Raptors (23-38) seem to be in denial about rebuilding, battling themselves and their own lottery odds in the process.

One positive is that over the years, the Suns have dominated the Raptors to a tune of 23-9 lifetime.

Someone is going to lose lottery balls tonight, which is what happens when two lottery teams dance this late in the season. The past few years have been different for the Raptors as they went into a full rebuild after losing Chris Bosh: bringing in Kyle Lowry and Rudy Gay, drafted Jonas Valanciunas, and shifted to a younger more athletic core. They have not improved dramatically in terms of wins and loses, but are moving in the right direction.

On the side of the coin the Suns have been seemingly fighting the reality that is the rebuild. This game gives the fans a first hand look at what a team with two Top 10 picks and a handful of other young assets can look like. Right now the Raptors are playing a good brand of basketball since the the Gay trade, going 7-7 and showing signs of being a quality team going forward.

The Suns are improving as well, winning their last three games and having a realistic chance at tying their season high (four games) for wins in a row as they host another team in a very similar situation to themselves. These wins have dramatically changed their lottery odds, as will a win tonight.

(Recent) History Lesson

Remember the seven game losing streak earlier in the season? It wasn't all blowouts. In fact, there were a few very close games, including the controversial loss to the Raptors on the road. It was a tough loss to swallow as Luis Scola looked to have been fouled in the paint with a chance to tie the game at the free-throw line. Instead, Kyle Lowry rebounded the ball and iced the game at the line.

Head-to-Head (past four seasons including Playoffs)

Suns: 105.1 PPG (4 wins)

Raptors: 98.6 PPG (2 wins)

Before last season, the Suns had won 14 straight games against the Raptors dating back to 2003. They were the whipping boys for the Suns to an extent. As of late, it has been a closer series with the talent gap closing considerably over the years.

Head-to-Head (career)

Andrea Bargnani vs. Suns: 19.8 PPG 4.6 RPG 1.1 APG 0.45 BPG 47.6 FG% (11 games)

Luis Scola vs. Raptors: 12.0 PPG 8.8 RPG 1.7 APG 0.54 BPG 45.1 FG% (11 games)

A tale of two power forwards. On one hand, Bargnani has dominated the Suns for his second most points per game and shooting the ball at a great clip. Most of his points come inside and he only ventures out to three-point line when necessary instead of living out there like he can do for whole games. Then you have Scola who has had the most modest games of his career against the Raptors. They hold him to the second fewest points per game in the league.

Starting Line-Ups

PG - Goran Dragic v. Kyle Lowry

SG - Jared Dudley v. DeMar DeRozan

SF - P.J. Tucker v. Rudy Gay

PF - Luis Scola v. Andrea Bargnani

C - Marcin Gortat v. Jonas Valanciunas

Potential Suns Inactives: Diante Garrett (Coaches Decision), Hamed Haddadi (Ankle), and Jermaine O'Neal (Personal)

Potential Raptors Inactives: Linas Kleiza (Knee) and Mickael Pietrus (Knee)

Key Match-Up

Wesley Johnson vs. Alan Anderson

This season Anderson has put together a great year off of the bench as a scorer, giving them a surprising punch that they were sorely lacking. He is scoring from three, getting to the line, and shooting the ball well all-around on the perimeter. The Suns' counter-punch is Johnson, who has been playing very well as of late. He has developed as the season has progressed, giving the Suns their very own surprise off of the bench. These two will battle it out on the reserve unit to try and give their team an edge.

Interesting Stat: 1.6 more minutes per game

That is all that Toronto is giving Rudy Gay in terms of minutes per game since the trade, not much more than in Memphis, but he is putting up bigger numbers with that extra minute plus. In that extra time, he is scoring 3.7 more points, 0.7 more rebounds, and getting to the free-throw line 1.4 more times per game. He is not shooting the ball any better, actually much worse statistically, but has been playing very good basketball for the improved Raptors. They are 7-7 since acquiring the borderline All-Star.

Meaningless Stat: -3.7

Since the Gay Trade, which at one point was going to be for Suns forward Jared Dudley, he has declined in productivity. Before the trade, Dudley was one of the teams' more consistent performers on both ends of the floor. Well, take a look for yourself to see what he has done since then:

MIN PTS REBS ASTS STLS FG% 3PT% FT%
Nov-Jan (pre-trade)
30.5 12.0 3.6 2.7 1.0 47.9 38.5 82.7
Feb (since trade)
24.7 8.3 2.6 2.4 0.4 41.6 38.2 60.0

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