THE STORY: The Phoenix Suns love seeing the Toronto Raptors on the schedule, and now is a pretty good time for them to roll out the welcome mat for a team it has defeated 13 consecutive times. The Suns and Raptors meet in Phoenix on Wednesday, one night after the Suns lost in triple overtime to the Los Angeles Lakers for their fifth loss in seven games. Phoenix is running out of time in its quest to catch eighth-place Memphis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference as it fell three games behind the Grizzlies. But the sight of the Raptors certainly will be pleasing to the eyes as Phoenix hasn’t lost to Toronto since the 2003-04 season.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, TSN, FSAZ
ABOUT THE SUNS (35-34): Here’s how long it has been since Phoenix lost to Toronto: Current Suns guard Vince Carter was Raptors' star player when they last beat the Suns, scoring 29 points in Toronto's 2004 victory over Phoenix. The Suns figure to have a lot of tired players after Tuesday’s epic game against the Lakers. Steve Nash played 49 minutes despite his pelvic injury and had 19 points and 20 assists. Channing Frye had a career-high 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in 57 minutes. Marcin Gortat had 24 points and 16 rebounds in 53 minutes off the bench. Grant Hill had 11 points and 10 rebounds in 44 minutes. And Carter scored 17 points on 7-of-23 shooting in 40 minutes. The Suns are starting a three-game homestand that includes games against New Orleans on Friday and Dallas on Sunday.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (20-50): Toronto is playing its third road game in four nights and was routed by Denver, 123-90, on Monday. Center Andrea Bargnani had 20 points for his fourth straight 20-point outing. Guard Leandro Barbosa is playing in Phoenix for the first time since departing the Suns after seven seasons with the franchise. He scored 15 points against Phoenix when the teams met last month in Toronto but had only five on 2-of-11 shooting against Denver. The Raptors are 6-26 on the road, with the latest win coming in Sunday's 95-93 upset of Oklahoma City. Toronto plays at Golden State on Friday and visits the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday to conclude a five-game road swing.
WHO'S HOT/WHO’S NOT: Bargnani is averaging 24 points over the last four games. ... Frye is averaging 22.7 points and has made 13 3-pointers in three games since returning from a shoulder injury. ... Toronto guard Jerryd Bayless is averaging just 3.0 points while making 2 of 15 shots over the past three contests. ... Phoenix forward Hakim Warrick is averaging just 4.8 points over the last four games.
KEY STATISTIC: Four different Phoenix players had double-doubles in the triple-overtime loss to the Lakers. Toronto hasn’t had any double-doubles over its past four outings.
SEASON SERIES: The Suns routed the Raptors, 110-92, on Feb. 25 in Toronto to continue their domination of the series.
KEY INJURIES: TORONTO: F Amir Johnson (ankle); F Linas Kleiza (knee). PHOENIX: G Gani Lawal (knee).
LAST WORD: The Raptors have lost 50 games for the sixth time in franchise history and need to go at least 3-9 over the final 12 games to avoid the third 60-loss campaign in team annals. The team record for losses occurred when Toronto went 16-66 in the 1997-98 season. Toronto’s most recent 50-loss season was a 27-55 mark in 2005-06.