Suns Squeak By Raptors


Jason Kidd thrives on fast breaks, but he also can succeed while standing still at the foul line.

Kidd had 15 assists and 16 points, including two free throws with 1.3 seconds left that gave the Phoenix Suns a 94-93 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.

With Toronto leading by a point, Doug Christie missed two free throws with 5.1 seconds left. Cliff Robinson grabbed the rebound off the second miss, and Phoenix called time with 4.8 seconds remaining to set up the final play.

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  • Kidd was fouled by Antonio Davis after driving underneath and trying to get free for a hook shot in the lane. He made both free throws for the winning margin, capping an 8-for-8 performance from the line.

    "My first option was to shoot the jump shot, because I knew Christie didn't want me to get to the basket, but in those situations you have to go right to the basket and either get the shot or hope to get fouled," Kidd said. "Then you have to step up and make the free throws."

    Kidd had eight points and seven assists in the fourth quarter, when the Suns made up a seven-point deficit in the final 1:22 to win their fourth straight.

    "We were very fortunate to win," coach Danny Ainge said. "We were throwing the ball all over the map. Our turnovers (21) were atrocious."

    Vince Carter, who scored 19 points, made Toronto's last field goal with 1:22 left to put the Raptors up 93-86. Kevin Willis had 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench for Toronto.

    Penny Hardaway scored 17 points and ToGugliotta 16 for the Suns.

    Christie said both free throws felt good when they left his hand.

    "That's the worst way to lose, but that's why we play the game," Christie said. "You have to give a lot of credit to them. They kept hanging in there and working hard. You can't take anything away from their effort, but you also can't give games away that way."

    Muggsy Bogues hit a jumper to give Toronto a 74-73 early in the fourth quarter, and the Suns didn't regain the lead until Kidd went to the line for the last time.

    Phoenix pulled within 88-86 on a left-handed jumper in the lane by Kidd with 3:42 left. But the Suns had only one field goal after that, and Dee Brown hit a 3-pointer to give Toronto a five-point lead with 1:56 left.

    Carter hit a 17-footer 34 seconds later.

    The Raptors started the fourth quarter down by three points, but Willis had three straight baskets during a 13-2 run that carried them to an 83-75 lead.

    Willis also stopped a 7-1 surge by the Suns with a tough jumper with 5:34 left, restoring an 82-86 lead for the Raptors.

    Rodney Rogers had 10 of his 14 points in the second quarter, helping the Suns stay within range.

    The Raptors took their biggest lead of the game at 47-36 on a three-point play by Davis with 4:26 left in the second quarter. But Rogers had a layup and a 3-pointer during a 7-0 surge in the next two minutes that tightened the game again.

    Phoenix caught up in the third quarter, taking a 61-60 lead on an 18-foot jumper by Gugliotta with 5:22 remaining in the period. The lead changed hands twice before the Suns went up 73-70 starting the third quarter.

    "We had a sub-par third quarter. We should have been in better position in the fourth quarter," coach Butch Carter said.

    Notes

  • The Suns have not allowed a 100-point game by an opponent in their last five games, or in any of their eight wins.
  • Dell Curry, the NBA's top 3-pointer shooter, broke a 7-for-7 streak when he missed with 4:28 left in the second quarter. He was 1-for-3 from long range in the game.
  • It was only the seventh meeting between the teams. The Suns are 5-2 in the series.
  • The Suns' Gorilla mascot broke and dislocated his right ankle when he landed awkwardly after a trampoline-assisted dunk between the third and fourth quarters. The team said he would have surgery Wednesday.

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