PHOENIX – The Phoenix Suns raced past Toronto 122-103 on Saturday night despite a career-high 42 points by the Raptors’ Chris Bosh.
Leandro Barbosa, starting in place of injured Raja Bell, scored 31 points, Amare Stoudemire added 28 and Grant Hill 25 as Phoenix swept the season series from Toronto for the fourth consecutive season. The Suns are 8-0 against the Raptors since Steve Nash came to Phoenix in 2004.
Nash had 16 assists with no turnovers.
Bosh made 22 of 24 free throws, both career bests. His 22 makes are the most from the line in the league this season.
The Suns won at Toronto 136-123 on December 5, in the highest-scoring NBA game this season. This one was on a similar pace until the fourth quarter.
Phoenix used a 20-6 run in the third quarter to open a 98-79 lead on Barbosa’s 3-pointer following an offensive rebound by Steve Nash. Stoudemire had 24 points, Hill and Barbosa 23 apiece in the first three quarters as Phoenix blew open a 103-83 lead entering the fourth.
Marcus Banks started the final quarter with a 3-pointer to put the Suns up 106-83. The Raptors got no closer than 13 after that.
Bosh’s previous career best was 41, set against Orlando last February 7 and tied against Cleveland on November 24.
The Suns improved to 6-0 when Barbosa has started this season. Bell sat out the game with back spasms. The Suns, plagued by slow starts in recent games, outscored the Raptors 20-11 to go up 34-22 with 1 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter.
Toronto used an 11-4 spurt to cut it to 44-43 on Bosh’s two free throws with 6:53 left in the half. Barbosa responded with a 3-pointer, but moments later Toronto sliced it to 55-53 when Bosh made a turnaround 10-footer.
Barbosa, who scored 15 in the second quarter, made a driving layup in a 7-0 run that gave the Suns a 62-53 lead 2:10 before the half. Phoenix led 66-61 at the break.
Bosh scored 22 in the first half, including 10-of-11 free throws. Barbosa made 6-of-7 shots in the second quarter.– AP