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Final Score: Markieff Morris has career game, but Phoenix Suns fall to Toronto Raptors

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Markieff Morris punctuated the Phoenix Suns coaching change by posting one of the best games of his career (30 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists). But the Suns did not have enough firepower to beat the Raptors, losing 104-97

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns came out wanting to show something to their new coach, Earl Watson, and that contingent was headlined by Markieff Morris.

Morris had the best game of the season and it wasn't even close. He was active, aggressive and had his shooting touch. It appeared he was moving at twice the speed he'd been playing all season.

The Suns still didn't have the firepower to keep up with the Raptors though, and after a quick run at the end of the third quarter to pull within 1 point, they couldn't get any closer.

Booker put on a three-point show, but the Suns couldn't close the gap as time ran out.

Suns leaders:

  • Markieff Morris: 30 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists
  • Devin Booker: 27 points, 5 rebounds
  • Archie Goodwin: 18 points, 11 assists, 2 rebounds
Raptors leaders:
  • DeMar DeRozan: 22 points, 3 assists
  • Kyle Lowry: 24 points, 4 assists
  • Three other players (Ross, V, Joseph) had 10-16 points

First half

The Suns started strong with a midrange jumper by Markieff Morris, a three from Devin Booker and a dunk from Archie Goodwin before the Raptors called a timeout, down 7-0.

The Raps are a good team though. And they started making their shots, pulling to an 11-11 tie within the next couple of minutes.

Morris looked like his old, best self in the opening minutes. He was moving faster, executing better and making his shots. He made 3 of his first 4 shots (when was the last time we wrote THAT!?) and even pulled down more rebounds (2) than fouls committed (1) in the opening five minutes.

He continued his great first quarter even while the rest of his teammates cooled off, finishing the quarter with 14 points and 5 rebounds. This is already his best game since January 17 (17 and 5) and it's only the first quarter.

Suns lead 32-28 after one, thanks to an Archie Goodwin buzzer-beating-banked-in three pointer. Goodwin had 7 points and 5 assists in that first quarter.

But Lyle Lowry was FEELING IT in this game early, making 4 of his first 5 threes and scoring 16 points in his first 14 minutes.

The Raptors took their first lead early in the second quarter (35-34) while Lowry looked like he wasn't going to sit down all night.

Overall, the Raptors went on a 29-11 run (going up 46-36) as the re-energized Suns ran a bit out of gas after their opening surge. The Raptors scoring was balanced, with 6 players scoring points.

The Suns recovered a bit to pull within 3 points a couple of times, but DeMar DeRozan made a pair of tough leaners and the Raptors went into halftime with a 7-point lead.

Halftime leaders:

  • Markieff Morris: 16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists
  • Archie Goodwin: 11 points, 5 assists
  • Devin Booker: 8 points, 3 rebounds

Second half

The Suns came out in the second half really fighting again, but the Raptors started making a lot more shots which made it difficult to close the gap. The Raps got the pick-and-roll going to Jonas V. while the Suns went small.

Morris and Booker were both hot shooting, but the Raptors still kept an 8-point lead through most of the quarter.

But the Suns would not lay down. Booker hit three sweet threes in the quarter (gawd that shot is SOOOOO pure) and Markieff Morris had 8 points of his own.

But the real surprise in this quarter was Archie Goodwin collecting another 5 assists to give him his first double-double of his career (13 points, 10 assists) as he's been feeding Goodwin and Morris all night long.

The Suns went on a mini-run to cut the Raptors lead to one point (71-70), but then had a turnover and missed three while the Raptors stretched the lead back to 8 by the end of the quarter.

The Suns continued their fourth quarter troubles by failing to score as much as the other team, quickly getting down 12.

Markieff Morris continued his torrid post-Hornacek game by pushing his point total to 29 by early in the 4th quarter. That's season high, with 9 minutes to go.

P.J. Tucker finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds, while Alex Len and Tyson Chandler combined for just 2 points and 9 rebounds in 34 minutes.