NBA: Raptors spoil debut of Suns interim coach Watson

Kyle Lowry (left) high fives head coach Dwane Casey during the game against the Phoenix Suns on Feb 2, 2016.
Kyle Lowry (left) high fives head coach Dwane Casey during the game against the Phoenix Suns on Feb 2, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Toronto guard Kyle Lowry scored 26 points and DeMar DeRozan had 22 as the Raptors spoiled Phoenix interim coach Earl Watson's debut in a 104-97 victory over the Suns on Tuesday at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Reserve guard Terrence Ross had 16 points and centre Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points for the Raptors (33-16), who have won 12 of their last 13.

Forward Markieff Morris had a season-high 30 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns (14-36), who have lost five in a row, 11 of their last 12 and 20 of their last 22.

Suns rookie guard Devin Booker had 27 points and tied a career high with six 3-pointers, including two threes and a lay-up during a 13-4 run that brought the Suns within 99-94 with 2min 56sec remaining.

DeRozan made a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with 51 seconds left for a 102-94 lead. Lowry had five 3-pointers.

First-year Suns assistant Watson was promoted to interim coach on Monday, when the Suns fired Jeff Hornacek in what was to be the final year of his three-year contract.

Suns point guard Archie Goodwin had 18 points and a career-high 12 assists for his first career double-double.

Goodwin made his seventh straight start in place of injured guard Brandon Knight, who has been out with a sports hernia and is not expected back before the All-Star break.

The Suns led by as many as seven points in the first quarter but did not lead over the final 33 minutes.

Morris, seemingly infused with energy after the coaching change, had 14 points and five rebounds while playing the entire first quarter in his first start since Jan 19 and his 20th of the season. Goodwin's 35-footer as time expired gave the Suns a 32-28 lead.

Lowry had 11 points in the first quarter and 16 at half-time when the Raptors used a 14-2 at the start of the second quarter to take a 52-45 lead at half. Lowry made four of seven from 3-point range.