Hedo Turkoglu had a chance to steal my heart. Down one with a shot to win at the horn, Turkoglu’s first potential game-winner rimmed out tonight from about 20 feet, handing the Suns a hard-fought 101-100 victory over the Raps.
I realize it’s still early and he can’t make ’em all, but it’s been a rather uninspiring first three weeks in Raptorland for Turkoglu. Sure, he made a couple biggies to keep Toronto in it in the fourth tonight, but with a pair of chances to win it (he missed a three on the prior possession), it would’ve been nice to see him seal the deal. He finished with 20 (tying a season-high) on just 8-of-20 from the field, though that was with a sore hip, as Matt Devlin reminded the television audience every 11 seconds of the first quarter.
In all, it was a nice road effort — one the Raps should’ve had in the end. After getting lit in the first quarter, Toronto’s D actually put together a solid effort, switching on Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire’s little two-man game nicely, keeping the Suns from killing them with the pick-and-roll. Still, Nash and Stoudemire managed to get theirs (23 and 30, respectively) and Channing Frye nailed six threes and finished with 20. Aside from the big three, the remainder of Phoenix’s lineup was 9-of-33.
Chris Bosh led Toronto with 25 and 10 rebounds, though he could’ve had even more against a weak Phoenix interior that had nothing in the way of a shot blocking presence. Jose Calderon started strong but finished with eight points and seven assists, forfeiting a bunch of ball-handling opportunities to Turkoglu late. Andrea Bargnani had 17 but grabbed just four boards for the Raps, who were out-rebounded 46-39.
The loss sends Toronto to Denver on a losing note, as I’d originally expected. Still, after getting my hopes up with a lead much of the night, this one is a little tough. Oh well, might as well get this road trip done and out of the way while we can. The Raps and Nuggets go Tuesday night, followed by a date with the Jazz on Wednesday.