Suns lose seventh in a row as Raptors pull away late

Nov 2, 2018: Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

By the Associated Press

Kawhi Leonard scored 19 points and the Toronto Raptors used a 14-2 fourth-quarter run to finally put away the pesky Phoenix Suns 107-98 on Friday night.

Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and Serge Ibaka 14 for the Raptors, who improved to 8-1, the best nine-game start in franchise history. Kyle Lowry had 11 points and 12 assists.

Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, had 17 points and 18 rebounds for the Suns, losers of seven in a row since winning their season opener. Isaiah Canaan scored 19 and Devin Booker 18 for Phoenix. Booker returned after missing three games with a strained hamstring.

Phoenix trailed by only four early in the fourth quarter before Toronto’s decisive 14-2 surge.

The Suns led most of the first half but never by more than seven points.

Phoenix was up 52-48 at the break, with Canaan scoring 12 points and Ayton adding 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Raptors opened the third quarter with a 13-2 run. Leonard’s three-point play on a drive to the hoop put Toronto up 56-54 and Danny Green’s 3-pointer from the corner made it 61-54. Phoenix, though, scored the next seven, tying it at 61-61 on Booker’s 18-footer.

Despite missing four free throws during that stretch, the Raptors responded with a 13-3 run to lead 74-64 after Fred VanVleet’s 3-pointer with 2:04 left in the third quarter. Josh Jackson’s 3 at the third-quarter buzzer cut Toronto’s lead to 77-71 entering the fourth.

Jackson’s jumper to start the fourth quarter cut it to35 77-73 but the Raptors finally took control for good.

VanVleet sank a 3-pointer, followed by a steal and layup and Norman Powell sank a 3 to finish a 14-2 outburst that put the Raptors up 91-75 with 8:35 remaining.

Toronto stretched it to 99-81 on Valanciunas’ layup. Phoenix outscored the Raptors 17-8 the rest of the way.

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