Suns at Raptors, game-day Dino-bytes
PHOENIX (7-9) at TORONTO (3-13)
Air Canada Centre
TV: TSN2; RADIO: FAN590
Phoenix: Goran Dragic, Shannon Brown, Michael Beasley, Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat; Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas.
Key backups tonight
Phoenix: Luis Scola (he’s as crafty a vet as there is), P.J. Tucker (one-time Raptor thriving with Suns); Toronto: Mickael Pietrus (newbie should get some playing time); Jose Calderon (coming off sluggish game in Memphis).
First meeting of the season; Raptors snapped 14-game losing streak to Suns with a win in Phoenix last season.
What happened this morning
The new guy’s in town.
Mickael Pietrus will dress (No. 20 for those souvenir shoppers out there) and will get some playing time. He’s been working out back home in France and although there will be some rust, he’s going to be thrown right into the fire.
“Points-wise, we were at a deficit at that position,” coach Dwane Casey said Friday morning.
And the others …
Andrea Bargnani is good to go after shootaround, Casey said, the ankle issue that kept him out Wednesday seems improved enough.
Amir Johnson, who rolled an ankle against the Grizzlies but came back later in that game, will be a game-time decision tonight.
The folks in charge
Referees are Mike Callahan, David Guthrie and Mark Lindsay, for those who just need to know such things.
What they’re saying
Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic had this to say this morning.
A familiar face
Yes, that will be Jermaine O’Neal you see in a Suns jersey.
He signed there as a free agent and has averaged 11 points and six rebounds in his last seven games.
Esoteric Raptor stat of the day
Jonas Valanciunas has had at least one blocked shot in his last seven games. He’s got 19 blocks on the season, leading the team.
The franchise rookie record for blocks in a season is 130, set by Marcus Camby.
A long time ago
The last time Toronto beat Phoenix at the Air Canada Centre, the starters were Alvin Williams, Jalen Rose, Vince Carter, Donyell Marshall and Chris Bosh. It was Jan. 4, 2004. The Raptors didn’t go too deep, the only subs to play significant minutes were Mike Curry and Morris Peterson.
Ah, the good old days.