Raptors And Suns Link Arms In Solidarity
The NBA on Wednesday reacted strongly to the storming of the Capitol by an angry mob of Trump supporters – a day fittingly described by President-elect Joe Biden as one of the darkest days in the history of the U.S. nation.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse, too, added his voice to the choir of condemnation, calling the events leading up to the violent protests disturbing, unbelievable, and disgusting. And ahead of the game between the Toronto Raptors and the Phoenix Suns, players in reaction to a riotous day and ongoing racial injustice met at centre court linking arms during the singing of the national U.S. and Canadian anthems.
Players Aren’t Unaffected
According to Nurse he had spoken to the leaders of the Raptors before tip-off, wanting to offer to them a platform and opportunity to communicate so as to evaluate the general response to what had been going on at the time. The Raptors coach also spoke from a personal perspective, saying he felt personally conflicted about where he should be “fitting” into the bigger picture. He said he would have supported his team either way – irrespective of whether or not they played.
Wednesday night saw the Suns reign victorious over the Raptors, with Devin Booker’s 24 points and Jae Crowder’s 21 hoisting the team to a 123-115 win. Leading the way with six 3s had been Crowder, with Cameron Johnson adding four more.
The most recent victory by Phoenix has them tied for the top spot in the Western Conference with the L.A. Lakers. The win also saw them continue the push they had gained towards the close of last season, when they won all eight their games in Florida and very nearly qualified to star in the playoffs.
Toronto Stuck In The Woods
As for the Raptors, even though they shot nearly half of all their shots from the field, they were ultimately unable to keep up with Phoenix.
By the fourth quarter, the Suns were enjoying a 96-87 lead. This advantage was soon extended to 105-90 by Saric with only a little over 9 minutes of playing time remaining on the clock. And although the Raptors managed to cut the lead back to a respectable 121-115 with only 35 seconds left of the game, Chris Paul made quick work of re-doing the damage with two free throws.
Toronto’s early-season struggles continue for a lack of grit, and perhaps most worryingly of all, a complete lack of flight.