The Phoenix Suns will take the court for the first time since they traded Goran Dragic when they face the Raptors on Friday night at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto is coming off a big victory over Chicago, defeating the Bulls 118-113 behind Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan, who scored 24 points a piece. Jose Calderon collected 17 assists in the winning effort.
The loss of Dragic has left the fanbase wondering how the team will respond. He was a fan favorite, especially after his heroic Game 3 performance in the playoffs against the Spurs last season. Replacing him is Aaron Brooks, who will not play until Sunday's game against the Pacers.
The Raptors are 16-42 this season, having taken a big step back after losing Chris Bosh to free agency. They recently acquired James Johnson, a second-year player out of Wake Forest, to start on the wing. The Raps are lengthy and play a European style of basketball, but their lack of big, skilled players has hurt them greatly this season.
Phoenix, on the other hand, has won 8 of their last 11 games, bringing them to within 2 games of eighth place in the Western Conference. At 28-27, the Suns will need to win at least 18 of their final 27 games to have a shot at the playoffs.
There should be an interesting dichotomy on display: Raptors fans will likely boo Vince Carter while cheering for Steve Nash, Canada's favorite son.
Tonight is the first of a five game road trip for the Suns, an Eastern Conference swing that includes games against Boston and New Jersey, who both completed big trades over the past few days. The Celtics picked up Jeff Green from the Thunder, while the Nets, of course, snagged Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz.