Time: The Suns host the Raptors on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at US Airways Center.
Records: Suns 21-39 (fourth in the Pacific Division) vs. Toronto 23-38 (fifth in the Atlantic Division)
PG: Goran Dragic (14.2 points and 6.9 assists) vs. Kyle Lowry (12.7 points and 6.0 assists)
SG: P.J. Tucker (5.4 points and 4.1 rebounds) vs. DeMar DeRozan (17.7 points and 4.1 rebounds)
SF: Jared Dudley (11.1 points and 3.4 rebounds) vs. Rudy Gay (18.1 points and 6.1 rebounds)
PF: Luis Scola (12.7 points and 6.2 rebounds) vs. Andrea Bargnani (13.1 points and 3.7 rebounds)
C: Marcin Gortat: (11.2 points and 8.5 rebounds) vs. Jonas Valanciunas (6.7 points and 5.6 rebounds)
History vs. Raptors
It’s not like the Raptors’ success is extinct against the Suns, but it’s close to it. Phoenix has won 14 of its last 16 games against the Raptors, but Toronto snapped a 14-game series losing streak in the sole meeting last season.
In the first meeting between the two clubs this season, the Raptors snapped a seven-game losing streak at home to the Suns. However, Toronto is coming into Wednesday’s contest on a bit of a slide.
The lone Canadian NBA team has suffered five-straight losses, but that doesn’t convince Suns Head Coach Lindsey Hunter that Wednesday will be any easier.
“They have some talented and gifted scorers,” Hunter said. “They have some really good role players. (Raptors small forward Rudy) Gay and (Raptors shooting guard DeMar) DeRozan can score at will.”
The Raptors are also one of the best teams in the league at taking care of the ball. They commit the third-fewest turnovers.
After winning three-straight contests, the schedule provided the Suns with a four-day gap between games. The last time the Suns have hit the court was Friday against the Hawks at US Airways Center.
During those three practices, Hunter received the opportunity to introduce more of his philosophies to the team. He believes the team is becoming “sharper and sharper” at what he’s asking from them.
“You work until you will it, and our mindset has always been that,” Hunter said. “We’re going to will our way through.
“Anytime you can have some success, especially after how hard we’ve been pushing them, it’s good for them. But we can’t rest on that because we haven’t done anything. We’re still trying to build something here.”
The Suns’ first-year coach doesn’t limit the length of practice either.
“We can’t worry about how long we were out there,’ Hunter said. “We’re going to work until we get it. It’s not about a time limit, it’s about getting it and that’s the most important thing.”
Suns point guard Goran Dragic, who suffered a bruised back against the Hawks on Friday, will suit up against the Raptors after practicing Tuesday. Although twin brothers Markieff and Marcus Morris also received some bumps and bruises after last game, both will also be available Wednesday. .
“When one is hurt the other feels that pain so they both have to sit out,” Hunter joked.
In order to catch a flight to Boston to visit his daughter, Suns center Jermaine O’Neal left practice early Tuesday. His 13-year-old daughter, Asjia, will undergo surgery to repair a leaky heart valve Wednesday.
Although he spoke to the front office about an estimated date of return to the team, the club is giving him as much time as he needs. In the meantime, Hunter hasn’t decided who will receive O’Neal’s minutes.