PHOENIX — Since their 20-point road win against the current 5-seed Utah Jazz, things have gone off the rails for the Phoenix Suns.
It started with Kelly Oubre Jr.'s right knee injury after that game in Utah, which the team announced yesterday resulted in surgery that will sideline him at least four weeks.
Oubre averaging a key 18.7 points for the team this season.
Since Oubre's injury, the Suns have dropped four straight games, including last night at home to the Toronto Raptors, a team that had also lost three in a row going into the contest and was without several key players.
The Suns led throughout the first half before Toronto pulled it to level in the third and eventually took the lead. Unlike their last two losses to the Pistons and Warriors, the Suns competed throughout Wednesday night's game.
Phoenix pulled within one with 2:22 remaining but the Raptors responded with a 3-pointer and pulled away.
Devin Booker led Phoenix with 22 points while rookie Cameron Johnson had a career-high 21.
Suns coach Monty Williams said he was pleased with his team's effort even in a loss.
“I hate the result — it will have me up late tonight,” Williams said. “But I cannot be frustrated at all about the approach this morning, the focus on the floor. Defensively we were locked in, we moved the ball early, we played hard.”
Williams said Oubre's injury has affected the team.
“I think it did emotionally probably brought us down a couple notches,” Williams said before the game. “It probably sounds a bit weak to admit it, but it's just a reality. You finally get your team close to whole and then you lose Kelly. The guys have probably struggled with it more than they want to admit."
Meanwhile, things continue to get worse. Late in the fourth quarter, second-year center Deandre Ayton left the game with what appeared to be an ankle injury. He finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds.